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Saturday, September 3, 2011

Is Yousuf planning yet another comeback?

Contrary to reports that Mohammad Yousuf has decided to retire from international cricket the experienced batsman is hoping to make his comeback, a senior Lahore cricket official told ‘The News’ on Friday.

Lahore City Cricket Association (LCCA) president Khawja Nadeem has disclosed that Yousuf has decided to play in the domestic season for his regional team.

“I have been in contact with Yousuf and he is returning on September 11 with a positive frame of mind and will be taking part in domestic tournaments,” said Nadeem.

“Yousuf feels that he can play at the top level for another year and so, which is why he has decided not to hang up his boots despite calls that he has crossed his peak years,” he said.

The 37-year-old, who has played 90 Tests and 288 One-day Internationals, last featured for Pakistan in 2010 against South Africa. He is currently playing for Lashings World XI and has scored some runs for them including a century.

Meanwhile, sources close to Yousuf said that the departure of coach Waqar Younis is another reason why the former Pakistan captain is interested in making his international return.

According to the sources, Yousuf suspects that he has been overlooked for national duty because Waqar is not in favour of bringing him back. But since Waqar has decided to quit after the ongoing tour of Zimbabwe, Yousuf is hopeful that he will soon be able to revive his international career.

Meanwhile, one of the selectors has said that Yousuf can get back into contention if he can prove his form and fitness just like Misbah-ul-Haq has done to silence his critics. But he made it clear that there are no guarantees for Yousuf as players like Asad Shafiq, Azhar Ali and Umar Akmal have done well in his absence.

Yousuf did take part in the domestic one-day competition and scored three consecutive half-centuries to prove his form and fitness but was still overlooked mainly because of his poor fielding.

In the meantime, this correspondent asked the LCCA president whether there is any truth that the current PCB chief Ijaz Butt will be contesting presidential elections from Lahore region, he replied in the negative.

“There is not truth in such reports. Until now, these are just rumours and I know nothing about it. We haven’t heard any such thing from the PCB headquarters.

“All of this came up in media before Eid. My tenure is up to 2013 and I would like to complete it.”

I hate to be known as Wasim Akram`s girlfriend: Humaima

Mumbai: Pakistani model-turned-actress Humaima Malik, who will be seen in Shoaib Mansoor`s "Bol", releasing next week, is not amused by being constantly linked with cricketer Wasim Akram.

"Wasim has kids, I`ve a family. We`re both answerable to people in our lives. It becomes very embarrassing for me to be known as Wasim Akram`s girlfriend. I hate to be known by that identity. I`m a celebrity in my own right," said Humaima while speaking from Lahore on phone.

"Just because I`m a girl, do I need to be identified by the presence of a man in my life?"

During the Indian Premier League (IPL) matches earlier this year, Humaima says she had to cancel her trip to India to support Shah Rukh Khan`s Kolkta Knight Riders (KKR) team because of the loud whispers about her and Wasim.

"I was coming here to support KKR, not because Wasim was the team`s coach. Unfortunately the Indian press went to town linking my visit to Wasim. I had to cancel my trip," she said.

"Over there (India) being linked with a cricketer is seen as a big deal. Every Indian journalist asks me about Wasim. As if that`s all there is to me! In fact an Indian journalist had flown down to Pakistan. It was she who returned to India with gossip about me and Wasim," said Humaima.

She quickly adds that even the media in Pakistani is equally inquisitive about her private life. "Even if we go out for just a cup of coffee, there`re loud whispers," she said.

She is not flattered by the link ups as "I was a super-model and the Pakistani brand ambassador for an international brand of shampoo (Sunsilk) before I was selected by Shoaib Mansoor for my first film `Bol`."

"Bol", about the position of the women in a patriarchal society, has captured immense attention. Humaima was stunned when Mansoor offered her the role of a deglamorised daughter of a patriarchal family.

"I had to go completely against my image. I had to cut my nails really short, sport non-threaded eyebrows and not use an iota of makeup. It was tough on me, and I protested. But the results have been so rewarding. I feel I`ve changed as a human being after doing this film. It`s been a truly life-changing experience," she said.

Humaima says she is all set to come to India for the release of "Bol" and make a career in Bollywood, if needed.

"And why only Bollywood? I`m ready to do a Hollywood film, if offered. So far `Bol` has fetched me recognition from all over the world. I`ve been invited to India for the film`s release. And I look forward to doing films there. But Pakistan will always be home."

India-England ODI series will be a close contest, feels Akram

I hate to be known as Wasim Akram`s girlfriend: Humaima
Despite India having a nightmarish English summer so far with 0-4 pounding in the Test series and also losing the one-off Twenty20 game against England, former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram feels the five-match ODI series between India and England is going to be a close affair.

"It's going to be a close ODI series for sure and this time, I am not sure how India are going to play! I will make a comment on India only after the first ODI," said Akram.

"I am keen to see their body language and how well they take the raging bull by the horns. Needless to say, India's body language in the Test series was abysmal and they never looked in command. I am sure, they will look a different lot in the ODIs. The current squad looks a better ODI unit," he added.

Akram, however, admitted that the Indians, without their key players, are the favourites only on paper.

"It's misleading to call the ODI series starting tomorrow a match-up between the ODI world champions and the world T20 winners. Without half-a-dozen main players that helped India clinch the World Cup earlier this year, MS Dhoni's squad are favourites, but only on paper," Akram wrote in his column.

Stating that there are only two players - Rohit Sharma and off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who he was keen to follow during the one-dayers, the former cricketer said, "Rohit is immensely talented. He has got plenty of opportunities in the past and he seems to be in good form as well. It's time he lives up to his promise and take advantage of the chance given to him.

"Ashwin is a very good ODI and T20 bowler. His variations make him a very difficult prospect. He has a very good carom ball. Since most English batsmen haven't played against him, Ashwin will be the 'mystery' element and Dhoni should use him judiciously."

Pakistan team doesn’t need head coach: Afridi

 World acknowledged all rounder boom, boom Shahid Khan Afridi has said that Pakistan team didn’t need head coach.

Talking to Geo News representative Nasim Rajput, former captain Shahid Afridi said that the bowling and batting coaches should work under the strong manager.

Replying to a question, Afridi said that he would definitely come back in the national team. To another question, he said that let it be Zimbabwe or any other team, each and every victory is vital.

Regarding Eid, he replied that it was quite different for him, as despite being in the country he offered Eid prayer for the first time sans father. 

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