England vs Pakistan – Mohammad Yousuf back in Pakistan fold
Mohammad Yousuf has been recalled by Pakistan following their first-Test defeat.
The experienced 35-year-old batsman was suspended by the Pakistan Cricket Board following a disastrous tour of Australia last winter and he responded by quitting international cricket in March.
However, with Pakistan’s inexperienced batting line-up struggling on their tour of England, Yousuf, who averages 53.07 in Tests, has been persuaded to rejoin the fold.
Such is his quality amid a line-up of novices, Yousuf has instantly been installed as the 7/2 favourite to get the most Pakistan runs in the series. Despite not playing in the first Test, he is just 74 runs behind bowler Umar Gul, himself a lengthy 33/1 chance.
The second Test takes place on Friday, although with Yousuf still in Pakistan whether he can play in that match remains to be seen. He is nonetheless 3/1 to get the most Pakistan runs in the first innings should he appear.
Yousuf, who made seven and 23 in his last two innings on the tour of Australia, is ahead of captain Salman Butt (7/2), who scored just nine runs in the first England Test, and Shoaib Malik (5/1), who grabbed a total of 47.
In addition, leg-spinner Danish Kaneria has been dropped after taking just one for 171 in the first Test. He has been replaced in the squad by 18-year-old left-arm spinner Raza Hasan (6/1 to take most first innings wickets in second Test). However, Saeed Ajmal (5/1) would appear more likely to play at Edgbaston.
Kaneria is now set to play for Essex in their crunch County Championship relegation clash with Warwickshire at Southend this week.
A PCB statement released from Lahore confirmed the squad changes.
It read: “Danish Kaneria is released from the national team and is now available to play for his county Essex. His services will be available for the national squad if required.
“Mohammad Yousuf and Raza Hasan are added to the national squad with immediate effect.”
After taking six, four and four wickets respectively in the first Test, Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Aamer and Umar Gul are vying to be top Pakistan wicket-taker in the series. They are 11/8, 2/1 and 3/1 respectively.