Karachi: Veteran Pakistani batsman Mohammad Yousuf is likely to be included in the probables squad for the 2011 Cricket World Cup after receiving all out support from captain Shahid Afridi.
Yousuf, 36, was discarded as a spent force by Pakistani selectors last month because of his indifferent form and suspect fitness.
He was not even considered for this month's Test series against New Zealand after pulling out of the series against South Africa in the UAE because of injury.
National selectors had almost decided against picking him in a 30-man preliminary squad for World Cup 2011 likely to be named Tuesday.
But Monday, Pakistan's one-day captain Shahid Afridi pleaded Yousuf's case during a meeting with Ijaz Butt in Lahore. Afridi told the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman that he needed another experienced batsman in the middle order, indirectly referring to Yousuf.
Butt assured Afridi that he would advise the selectors to consider any player who could be beneficial for Pakistan's World Cup campaign.
"I do believe that a fit Yousuf can really provide a boost to our World Cup squad," Afridi told The News.
"He has the experience and the skills to anchor the innings against any kind of opposition and on any surface. All Pakistan needs from him is to attain full match fitness."
Yousuf is currently playing in league cricket in Bangladesh. Sources close to the former Pakistan captain revealed that Yousuf is focused on making his international return ahead of the World Cup and has taken a physical trainer along with him to Bangladesh in a bid to regain match fitness.
Yousuf is one of the most prolific run-getters for Pakistan in both Tests and One-day Internationals. In 288 ODI appearances, he has amassed 9,720 runs with 15 tons.
But his recent record is far from impressive. In his last eight ODI outings, Yousuf has just managed 117 runs at 14.62. His last fifty came almost a year ago on January 24 in Sydney against Australia.