''Disappointed'' Yousuf vows to make strong comeback

Karachi, Jan 18 (PTI) Former captain Mohammad Yousuf wasleft disappointed but vowed to come back stronger after beingignored for Pakistan''s 15-member World Cup squad, announcedtoday by the selectors without a captain.

Yousuf, a veteran of 90 tests and 288 ODIs, was named inthe preliminary squad of 30 players for the quadrennial eventbut national selectors decided to show faith in youngster AsadShafiq, who is captaining the Lahore team in the ongoingnational ODI.

Yousuf, while accepting the decision of the selectors,said he will keep giving his best no matter how limited theopportunities are.

"It is all in the hands of God. If he doesn''t want me toplay this World Cup I will not play," said Yousuf.

"I am very disappointed because I was looking forward toplaying in this World Cup as it would be my last. I was alsofeeling confident and in good nick for the tournament. Butonly the selectors can explain why they didn''t consider me forfinal selection," said the maverick batsman.

Sources said that the selectors were not happy with thepresent fitness of Yousuf, who was also dropped for the tourto New Zealand.

Earlier, before the team announcement, Yousuf had toldmediapersons that he wanted to play in the World Cup thatbegins in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh from February 19.

"I don''t think age is a bar for any player. Misbah isstill going strong at 36 and I am also playing well andscoring runs. I am fit so why can''t I play the World Cup," hesaid.

Yousuf, who has featured in Pakistan''s last three WorldCup campaigns, said he would continue to play the nationalone-day tournament for Lahore as cricket remained his passion.

Meanwhile, former chief selectors, Abdul Qadir and IqbalQasim felt that the omission of Yousuf from the squad was nota big surprise.

"I think the fact that the team already has two veryseasoned batsmen in the middle order in the shape of YounisKhan and Misbah-ul-Haq plus the youngsters like Asad Shafiq,Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad are also coming up well wouldhave influenced the selectors to go in without Yousuf," saidQasim.

He described the selected squad as a balanced one.

Qadir said the selectors had taken the correct decisionto ignore Yousuf.

"The present team is an ideal blend of experience andyouth and I don''t think Yousuf has been in the best of fitnessin recent months," said Qadir.

But former captain, Rashid Latif felt that the selectorsshould have gambled with Yousuf in the World Cup.

"He is too good a player to be ignored for such a bigevent where experience and the ability to play the spinnerswell on turning tracks will matter a lot. Yousuf I think isone of the best players of spin and that is why he deserved aplace in the final squad," Latif said.

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