Pakistan is mulling recalling Mohammad Yousuf from international wilderness to bolster the team’s batting for the Test tour of Sri Lanka this summer.
A source in the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said there is a strong possibility that Yousuf - who was banned by Pakistan after he joined the unofficial Indian Cricket League (ICL) last November - will be pardoned and brought back in the national team for the tour of Sri Lanka.
As per the source, Pakistan cricket’s think-tank is of the opinion that without the experience of Yousuf, Pakistan will be vulnerable in Sri Lanka, which has two world class spinners - Muttiah Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis - besides a formidable pace battery.
Pakistan will tour Sri Lanka during July-August this year. The final decision on Yousuf’s induction will be taken by Ijaz Butt, the PCB chairman, on his return from India, the source said.
Butt is on a goodwill tour of South Asia to garner the support of neighbouring cricket boards to help Pakistan regain its status as a 2011 World Cup co-host.
It is believed that Butt is in favour of clearing Yousuf once he breaks off his ties with ICL.
However, Yousuf, 34, said earlier this month that he had snapped his ties with the rebel league.
"I am available to play for Pakistan which has always been my priority," said Yousuf. "I have resigned from the ICL and have spoken to captain Younis Khan on the matter."
Yousuf, who played the last of his 269 one-day matches in Karachi in July last year, said he joined the ICL because of his differences with the then captain Shoaib Malik.
"I had a problem with the captain at that time, so I left. I had issues with the previous board administration as well," said Yousuf, who set a world record of most runs in a calendar year, 1,788 in 2006.
Pakistan will play three Tests, five One-day internationals and a Twenty20 international on its tour of Sri Lanka.
This is Pakistan's first full series in over 20 months and the first between the two countries since the aborted series in Pakistan in March after the Sri Lankan team bus was attacked by terrorists.
Pakistan is scheduled to arrive in Sri Lanka June 27, after the Twenty20 World Cup in England.