Pakistan’s premier batsman Mohammad Yousuf seems all set to return to domestic cricket after getting appointed as captain of a leading local team for the National One-Day Cricket Tournament which gets underway later this week.
Yousuf was allowed to play domestic cricket with several other national cricketers who are associated with the unofficial Indian Cricket League (ICL) last month by the Sindh High Court.
While most of his other ICL team-mates returned to first-class cricket soon after the ban on their playing domestic cricket was suspended by the court, Yousuf decided against playing the last remaining matches of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy last month.
However, now he seems set to return to the domestic circuit as Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) has appointed him as its captain for the one-day championship starting at various centres of the country from Wednesday.
Yousuf, 34, was banned from all forms of cricket by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) last November after he defected to the unauthorized ICL.
Interestingly, when Yousuf will return to the domestic circuit he will be pitted against old friend Younis Khan in the very first match.
Younis, the Pakistan captain, will be leading Habib Bank Limited (HBL) in the one-day event and will kick off his title campaign by playing the opening match against Wapda. The game will be played Thursday at Iqbal Stadium in Faisalabad.
Meanwhile, after losing Pakistan captaincy senior all-rounder Shoaib Malik has also stepped down as captain of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).
According sources in PIA, Malik has told the team management that he would be unable to continue as captain. PIA has appointed middle-order batsman Faisal Iqbal as its new skipper.
Almost all of Pakistan’s leading cricketers are planning to compete in the National One-day Tournament in a bid to warm up for a couple of away ODI series coming up later this season.
Pakistan is scheduled to tour Bangladesh for an ODI series within the next few weeks and will then host Australia for five One-day Internationals and a Twenty20 game in Dubai and Abu Dhabi in April-May this year.