ICL: Indian Cricket League

Pakistan hope to single out worthy Yousuf successor


Pakistan are expected to pick a worthy successor to Mohammad Yousuf, who has left a gaping hole in the national team’s middle-order by defecting to the breakaway Indian Cricket League (ICL), primarily on the basis of the players’ performance in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy Championship getting under way from today (Sunday).

National selectors and the Pakistan team management are to sit down together next month to choose a strong team for the home series against Sri Lanka in January-February well aware that one of their toughest tasks would be to find a suitable replacement for the prolific Yousuf.

Yousuf, 34, was banned from all cricket by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) last month after he rejoined the rebel ICL. The Lahore-based player, who has scored 6770 Test and 9242 one-day runs, is easily the country’s most accomplished batsman and the national cricket think-tank is aware that it would take time to find a worth successor.

Yousuf was no doubt the backbone of the team’s batting line-up, said Pakistan coach Intikhab Alam in an interview with The News. His absence is a loss for Pakistan but I’m hopeful that together we would find a solid replacement to bolster the middle-order.

Intikhab said that as coach he has several batters in mind but will only single out his choice for the vacant middle-order spot once he sees those batsmen perform in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy. ‘Some boys are really good but I’ve mostly seen them one-day games. We will sit down and watch them in upcoming four-day games. It’s very important to see whether they have the temperament for the longer version of the game, he stressed.

Intikhab said that as coach he has a few major areas to work on ahead of the series against Sri Lanka that is likely to get underway from January 22.

The former Pakistan captain wants Pakistan to be solid in all departments of the games including the spinners and openers.

Pakistan have been below-par in Tests when it comes to openers and spinners in recent times but Intikhab is confident that things will improve in the coming days.

I m an optimistic man, he said. I m sure that with a proper strategy and hard work, we can come out with a really balanced side.

Intikhab considers Danish Kaneria as a world class spinner even though the Karachi player has been far from his best in the last few seasons.

I personally believe that Keneria wasn’t utilised properly (by previous coaches), he said. ‘He was lacking in confidence. You can easily make or break a cricketer by not backing him when he needs your support the most.

In my opinion he is still very good and I’ve got hopes in him in the series against Sri Lanka.

Intikhab believes that half of Pakistan’s opening problem has been solved by left-hander Salman Butt adding that young batter Nasir Jamshed is also almost ready for Test cricket.

‘Both Salman Butt and Nasir Jamshed are very talented openers,’ he said.

Intikhab agreed that in the past Pakistani openers including Butt have been consistently inconsistent.

‘Consistency can be achieved by working on the batsman’s technical flaws and by giving him confidence. But before that you have diagnose the exact problem and make him understand that he needs to work on it.’

Source:Cricket News

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This entry was posted on Monday, December 29th, 2008 and is filed under General, Cricket.

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