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Sunday, April 3, 2011


Pakistan’s discarded middle-order batsman Mohammad Yousuf has praised Shahid Afridi’s impeccable captaincy during the ICC World Cup 2011 that took the team to the semi-final of the tournament.
“Afridi’s captaincy was impressive throughout the tournament. The decisions he made during the tournament are commendable. Afridi made the team a unit and under him it has been shaped well,” Yousuf said. He also praised Afridi for uniting the team and leading them from the front.
The veteran, who was dropped from the ICC World Cup 2011 squad because of poor form and fitness, appreciated the inclusion of young middle-order batsman Asad Shafiq in the national squad.
“Shafiq is a good inclusion. In fact his inclusion in the team has resolved Pakistan’s batting problems to an extent. After a long time have Pakistan seen the talent of Shafiq’s calibre. He is technically sound and mentally strong,” Yousuf said.
Yousuf admitted that Shafiq’s wicket was crucial in the semi-final and his departure affected the outcome of the match. However, he highlighted that the senior players Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan failed to rise to the occasion as both scored at an extremely low pace.
Praising the bowlers, the ace middle-order batsman reiterated that the bowling department had once again performed very well during the whole tournament. Even in the semi-final after being initially clobbered by the Indian openers Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag, the bowlers came back and succeeded in restricting the Indians to a manageable total of 260 runs.
Speaking on the ICC World Cup 2011 final, Yousuf favoured India to lift the cup because according to the veteran batsman, India have a very strong batting side and playing in home conditions will boost their chances against Sri Lanka massively.
Meanwhile, Yousuf reiterated that he wanted to represent Pakistan in the mega event, especially in the match against India. He, however, shunned from revealing his future plans as a batsman.
Yousuf currently does not hold Pakistan Cricket Board’s central contract, which is an indication that he might not be considered by the Board for selection in future.
On the other hand, Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi has asked for the inclusion of youngsters in the team. In the current scenario, it looks like Pakistan have no other option but to inject young blood in the national squad which would mean that Yousuf’s days as a batsman are all but over.
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