Monday May 13 2019

Saleem Yousuf wants Mohammad Amir in Pakistan’s World Cup squad

KARACHI: Pakistan’s former Test wicket-keeper Saleem Yousuf said Sunday he backed the idea of having Mohammad Amir in Pakistan’s World Cup squad.

Speaking to here in the city, Saleem, 59, said having Amir in the squad would be beneficial for Pakistan's national team in the English conditions during the cricketing pinnacle.

“There are, probably, couple of niggles and I feel that Mohammad Amir should have been there as he is experienced and his bowling in England will be effective.

"His presence will be beneficial for Pakistan team,” Yousuf, who played 32 Test matches for Pakistan between 1982 and 1990, said.

Last month, when chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq announced Pakistan’s 15-member squad, Amir was left behind; however, he was included in the 17-member one for the series against England with a hope for a last-minute inclusion.

With Pakistan’s bowling currently facing a struggle in England, several former cricketers — including Wasim Akram and Shahid Afridi — have backed the inclusion of Amir in the team.

Yousuf added that he was happy with how the team played in the second ODI against England in Southampton where the players fell short of just 12 runs while chasing a mammoth target of 374.

“I am happy to see the way Pakistan team played the last ODI. Though we lost, that doesn’t matter as we played well, and positive,”

“We just need a good win, a good match before World Cup to make momentum in our favour,” he said, adding that the team was doing well under the leadership of captain Sarfaraz Ahmed.

In response to a question, the former Test wicket-keeper agreed that the team lacked a solid power-hitter but expressed his confidence on the batters included in the squad.

“We surely lack a solid power-hitter … we do have players but we don’t have a hitter like Morgan or like West Indians have in their squad. Teams with power hitters will have an advantage. Our players will have to be confident there,” he said.

“I am confident that our batting has the ability. When they can score 360 […] then they have the ability to score big and win matches,” he said, adding that the team should play fearlessly.

“Just play with an open mind without any fear of defeat,” the former wicket-keeper said.

“We can continue playing like this but let me tell you that you won’t get a wicket of 300+ every time. Wickets there are very tricky, a lot has to do with the weather as well,” he added.