England finalised their preparations for today's second Test against Pakistan by ignoring the guessing game and assuming he will play despite his late arrival.
Strauss has plans ready for Yousuf
England finalised their preparations for today's second Test against Pakistan by doing their best to ignore the guessing game over the late arrival of Mohammad Yousuf. The Pakistan batsman arrived in Birmingham yesterday afternoon after an 8,000km journey from Karachi but there was no time for him to even have the benefit of an outdoor net session before the tourists assess his readiness to play.
Andrew Strauss, the England captain, did his best to rise above the uncertainty over the make-up of the opposition's side but admitted it would have been foolhardy not to prepare for the inclusion of a player who averages 70 in 12 Tests against England. "It's not a big deal, except to make sure we've got plans in place for him," said Strauss yesterday. "It's up to Pakistan to worry about whether he's in a position to play in a Test.
"We know he's a dangerous player and a very good Test cricketer. "If he does play and he's jet-lagged we hope we can make it difficult for him. We saw far too much of him last time [in 2006], because he had a great series. "He's a top-quality Test performer, but we've got plans that we think will work against him." England are not spending unwarranted time second-guessing Pakistan's selection plans, or whether reports that Yousuf, a former Pakistan captain, may have strained relationships with several of his prospective teammates are accurate.
"We've got no idea what happens in Pakistan's dressing room and who gets on with whom or what decisions their selectors are likely to make," Strauss added. "We've just got to worry about ourselves - and leave the other stuff up to them." * PA