Yousuf to play in South Africa series

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KARACHI, Sep 27 (Reuters) Pakistan's record-breaking batsman Mohammad Yousuf has made himself available for the upcoming Test series against South Africa after a meeting with his country's cricket chief today.

Yousuf, whose national team future was plunged into doubt when he agreed to join the rebel Indian Cricket League last month, said there was no longer any confusion and he would be available for the first Test starting on October 1 in Karachi.

''There was some misunderstanding between me and the board that has now been cleared up,'' he said. ''I will now play for Pakistan.'' Yousuf has played in 75 tests and 242 one-dayers made a record breaking 1,788 runs in 11 tests with nine hundreds in 2006.

But after being dropped from the Twenty20 World Cup squad last month by the Pakistani selectors, Yousuf announced he had signed-up with the breakaway ICL.

Former captain, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Imran Farhat and Abdul Razzaq are the other Pakistan players who have joined the ICL.

The Pakistan Cricket Board had initially said it would not select any player who joined the ICL.

However, Nasim Ashraf, the board's chairman, admitted the team needed Yousuf and every effort would be made to persuade him to drop his ICL contract and play for Pakistan.

''I had a fruitful discussion with Yousuf today.

Misunderstandings have been removed,'' Ashraf said.

''He has agreed to cancel his ICL contract and sign a central contract with us. He is now available for Pakistan.

''He is the backbone of our side and we would now like to see him playing until the next World Cup in 2011, he added.

He said Yousuf, 32, will join the Pakistan squad on Saturday and resume training immediately.

REUTERS BJR HS1631

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