x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Potential selection of Mohammed Yousuf a step back for Pakistan

Misbah-ul-Haq and Pakistan must persist with youngsters such as Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq instead of trying out players of the past.

Mohammed Yousuf is a great batsman but Pakistan cricket must look forward and stick with its youngsters, according to our columnist. Tom Hevezi / AP Photo
Mohammed Yousuf is a great batsman but Pakistan cricket must look forward and stick with its youngsters, according to our columnist. Tom Hevezi / AP Photo

Some things are best left in the past. For Pakistan cricket, the less associations their national team have with the Lord's Test of August 2010, then all the better.

Remarkably, given that it was only a year and a half previous, only two of the Pakistan line-up in that sullied fixture remained when they whitewashed England in the Test series on these shores earlier this year.

Each of Azhar Ali and Saeed Ajmal, those two survivors, emerged from the series in the UAE in credit. It would be fair to say Pakistan cricket, especially in the longest format, has been progressing serenely without the rest of them, thank you very much.

Sure, they have been shorn of some strong personalities with glowing career statistics, but it seems like that has been no bad thing. Misbah-ul-Haq, the captain, has overseen an understated evolution in the time since.

So when Mohammed Yousuf announced this week that he wants his place back in the Test side, aged 37, it could have prompted some trepidation in the Team Misbah camp. Yousuf's class is unquestionable. Anyone who averages in excess of 52 after 90 Tests should be considered a borderline great.

However, would more be lost than gained by recalling him now, after nine months in which he has not played any cricket? Pakistan have never been shy of giving youth a chance. It is the bit about sticking with the young tyros which has been the perennial problem.

Asad Shafiq and Azhar, whose places would most likely be under threat by a recall for Yousuf, have grown up, and established themselves in a team used to winning. They need to be backed. This is one occasion when the future cannot wait.

pradley@thenational.ae

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