LAHORE-Mohammad Yousuf has expressed his excitement as he started his second innings with Pakistan cricket after resuming the role of batting consultant here at the National High Performance Centre (NHPC). 

Talking to reporters here at the NHPC on Friday, the batting legend said that together with the likes of Misbah-ul-Haq, Waqar Younis, Saqlain Mushtaq, Mushtaq Ahmed, Ijaz Ahmed, Nadeem Khan and Younis Khan, he aims to help Pakistan cricket rediscover the old form and magic. “I am excited to rejoin these star cricketers of the past, who had contributed in making Pakistan a force to be reckoned with. We know and understand each other inside and out, and I have no doubts that with a collective approach, we will be able to reintroduce the brand of cricket that had made Pakistan a feared and dangerous side,” he said. 

Yousuf said: “Aligning the National High Performance Centre with domestic cricket to ensure there was a clear pathway for the talented cricketers and they does slip through the cracks, and attracting these former star cricketers to help Pakistan cricket who had not been part of the previous PCB set-ups, clearly indicates the vision and strategy of the PCB. 

“I was always interested in a coaching assignment, but this roadmap and pathway convinced me that there was a serious intent and the right time to join the cricket set-up. My expertise is cricket, that’s the only thing I know, but at the same time you want to come when you feel and realise you are being respected and valued, and there is some future planning.” 

The legendary batsman said: “The return of Test cricket to Pakistan is another factor that will contribute in identifying new talent and grooming into international stars. We have played nearly all our international cricket in the past decade outside Pakistan, which has resulted in the loss of talent and interest. 

“Looking at the potential player earnings in the upcoming season, this not only reflects high rewards for the best performing players but the introduction of competition for better contracts for the next year, which will further help the players prepare and produce their best, which, in turn, will help Pakistan cricket.” 

Speaking on Pakistan batsmen’s recent run, Yousuf expressed his satisfaction on the upcoming talent and said he wanted to inculcate a three-phased innings building process in the batsmen. “From what I have learnt from my experience and gathered by watching legends like Inzamam [ul-Haq] and Saeed [Anwar] bhai is that there are three phases in an innings. 

“The first is to fight the pressure, which is always there regardless of the opposition’s strength, and carry your team out of it. In the second, you have to build an innings and score 30-40 runs. The third phase is of progression in which you have to win the match for your side. This is what I plan to inculcate in the batsmen.” 

The legendary batsman also praised Babar Azam, Pakistan men’s limited-overs captain, adding all the batsmen played well in tough conditions in England without having played any international cricket since the Rawalpindi Test against Bangladesh in early February. “Babar is getting better day-by-day. Such big players require tuning in their batting, but at this stage, I do not see a need. However, I am here whenever he needs me.

“Shan Masood played a brilliant first innings in the first Test, which was quite impressive because we did not have such good starts in England in early days of our careers. Though, he struggled later, but overall he has shown improvement and this experience will help him in future. Mohammad Rizwan also played well as his two, three innings were brilliant. Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq are seasoned players and had given performances in countries like Australia and South Africa, which should not be forgotten. Overall, the team is progressing and this tour of England was a good one. It was competitive and we got to see good cricket,” Yousuf said.