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'Yousuf unavailable for Champions Trophy too'

According to sources, Mohammad Yousuf had two months back informed the PCB and the selection committee that he would not be available for selection during Ramzan.

cricket Updated: Jul 14, 2008 20:57 IST

Pakistan's preparations for the Champions Trophy suffered another setback on Monday with senior batsman Mohammad Yousuf also making himself unavailable for the tournament owing to his religious inclinations.

Sources close to the selectors told PTI that Yousuf had two months back informed the Board and the selection committee that he would not be available for selection during Ramzan.

Ramazan this year will fall between September 3 and October 3 while the Champions Trophy is to be held from the September 11-28.

"Yes, he did tell the selectors he didn't want to be disturbed during Ramazan as he was committed to some religious activities," one source said.

"He (Yousuf) said he would not be available for the Champions Trophy for this reason," he added.

But the source said Yousuf's request not to be picked for the mini-world cup was another reason for the announcement of the 30-member preliminary squad which will now be released on Tuesday.

"Besides the Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif issues, the selectors are also trying to get in touch with Yousuf who is in London to try to convince him to change his mind.

"The selectors are hopeful, Yousuf would be convinced once they speak to him," he added.

The source revealed that after the positive dope test of Asif, the selectors had decided to pick a rookie young pacer Mohammad Ali, who hails from Faisalabad and is presently training in the National Cricket Academy in Lahore.

"As far as Shoaib Akhtar is concerned, the selectors have pinned him down in their probables list but the Board has to give the final approval," the source said.