Former Pakistan captain Mohammad Yousuf has announced his retirement from international cricket, following an indefinite ban imposed by the PCB in the aftermath of a winless tour of Australia. However, Yousuf appears to have kept a window open for return to the international arena, for he repeatedly said the decision to retire was "for now."
"This is my retirement. I have retired from international cricket," Yousuf told reporters in Karachi. "I received a letter from the PCB that my staying in the team is harmful for the team, so I announce my retirement from international cricket." However, when asked if the decision was final, Yousuf said: "For now, this is what I can see, that my playing for Pakistan is damaging. For now, this is it, for now this is my retirement.
"I thank the fans around the world, all the senior players and family members for supporting me throughout my 12-year career. I always played for my country and if my playing is harmful for the team then I don't want to play," he said.
Yousuf had, last week, said he was preparing to retire and that he would make a formal announcement today. He played 88 Tests, nine as captain and scored 7,431 runs at an average of 53.07, including 24 centuries. He also scored 9,624 runs in 282 one-day internationals.
Yousuf was among seven Pakistan players penalised, for various reasons, by the PCB. He and Younis Khan were handed indefinite bans, Shoaib Malik and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan were banned for a year while Shahid Afridi and the Akmal brothers were fined and placed on probation for six months.
The recommendations for punishment were made by an inquiry committee set up by the board after Pakistan were beaten in each of their nine international matches on the tour of Australia. Seven of those losses - three in Tests and four in ODIs - came under the leadership of Yousuf.
In their findings, the board blamed Yousuf and Younis for spreading infighting and indiscipline within the side . He was subsequently not included in the central contracts list for this year.
"Everyone has their own thinking and the disciplinary committee has its own thinking and I haven't understood the reasons for it, or senior players, or the public," Yousuf said. Among the seven penalised players, Afridi has already lodged an appeal against the punishment while Malik and Naved are preparing to do so. Yousuf said he'd "speak to elders" over whether to follow suit. "Retirement I have given but as far as the appeal is concerned I will speak to my elders and if they allow me to, I will appeal," he said.
While he's ruled himself out of international cricket for the time being, Yousuf said he would continue playing first-class and league cricket.