Yousuf, Razzaq return to Pakistan squad for Sri Lanka

Updated: 22 June 2009 10:53 IST

Pakistan on Monday announced their 15-man squad for the tour of Sri Lanka starting next week.


World Twenty20 champions Pakistan on Monday unveiled the 15-man squad to tour Sri Lanka next week, including in the line-up pardoned rebel Indian league players Mohammad Yousuf and Abdul Razzaq.

Both Razzaq and Yousuf risked their international careers when they played in the Indian Cricket League (ICL), which is not recognised by the International Cricket Council or the Board of Control for Cricket in India.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) banned all 23 players who joined the ICL, but in February this year the Sindh high court suspended the bans on all but two ICL players, paving their way to return to Pakistan's squad.

Inzamam-ul-Haq and Saqlain Mushtaq, who are now retired, did not appeal against the ban.

"Yousuf and Razzaq snapped their ties with the ICL so we have cleared them to play for Pakistan and have included in the squad," a PCB release said.

Razzaq was the first ICL player to return to international cricket after he replaced injured all-rounder Yasir Arafat and appeared in the World Twenty20, which ended Sunday with Pakistan lifting the Twenty20 Cricket World Cup.

They beat Sri Lanka at Lord's in London, and will now play three Tests, five one-day internationals and a Twenty20 match on the Sri Lanka tour.

Yousuf, 34, was declared the best Test batsman in 2007 after scoring a world record 1,788 runs in the previous calendar year.

Yousuf and Razzaq joined the ICL after being left out of the team which finished runners-up in the inaugural World Twenty20 held in South Africa two years ago.

"I am happy to be named in the squad," Yousuf told AFP. "I have not played a Test since December 2007 (against India at Bangalore) so it will be tough to stage a comeback but I will try to do my best."

All-rounder Shahid Afridi, declared man-of-the-match in Pakistan's semi-final and final win in the World Twenty20, will skip the Test leg of the Sri Lanka tour but will be available for the limited over matches.

Injury-prone paceman Shoaib Akhtar, who missed the World Twenty20 due to groin problems, was also not considered for selection for the Sri Lanka tour.

Also axed from the squad was paceman Sohail Tanvir, part of Pakistan's winning team on Sunday.

Rookie 17-year-old paceman Mohammad Aamir, easily the find for Pakistan in their World Twenty20 win, will supplement the attack along with the more experienced Umar Gul and Razzaq.

Also returning to the squad is paceman Abdur Rauf, who played four one-day matches last year but was never selected for the Tests.

Pakistan starts the current tour on June 29 with a three-day side match in Colombo. The first Test starts at Galle from July 4.

The other two Tests will be played in Colombo (12-16 July and 20-24 July) followed by one-day series and the Twenty20 match.

Squad: Younus Khan (captain), Misbah-ul-Haq (vice-captain), Salman Butt, Khurrum Manzoor, Mohammad Yousuf, Shoaib Malik, Kamran Akmal, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal, Mohammad Aamir, Danish Kaneria, Abdul Razzaq, Abdur Rauf, Faisal Iqbal, Fawad Alam.

Topics : Cricket Sreesanth
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