LONDON, July 16: Senior batsman Mohammad Yousuf has downplayed Pakistan’s failure in the recently-concluded Asia Cup and termed the team’s inadequacy to beat quality opposition as “part and parcel of the game”.

Pakistan, high in confidence after their tri-series success in Bangladesh and having home advantage for the Asia Cup, failed to beat India and Sri Lanka in crucial matches and thus missed out on a place in the final.

The wins against Hong Kong and Bangladesh, and later against India, mattered little as the host’s history of poor performances in the contest continued.

Yousuf’s non-chalance, however, came as a surprise, especially as it came a day after his pulling out of the forthcoming ICC Champions Trophy. “Winning and losing is part of the game,” he said. “We lost crucial encounters [against India and Sri Lanka] where we failed to score 300 and paid the penalty. It was a flat pitch and scoring 300 was like 250 any other day but for our failure to do so, especially against the Indian bowlers, and lost both key matches.

“However, with the amount of cricket we are playing nowadays, it’s not a big deal to be losing matches. We win some, we lose some. It happens in cricket,” he added.

With a below-par performance even by his own standards – 98 runs from four innings – Yousuf refused to blame the batsmen but instead chose to lament the “lack of overs” in the innings, perhaps forgetting that Pakistan managed to bat for the entire 50 overs in both losses.

“Our batting wasn’t weak,” he said. “In fact, we had a really strong batting line-up. The problem was the lack of overs and because of that we couldn’t score enough runs [against India] but we tried our best.”

By opting out of the Champions Trophy, Yousuf looks set for a long break from international cricket and is hoping that the PCB can put an end to the IPL-ICL saga that currently hounds him in the meantime.

“When I opted out of the ICL and signed for IPL, the board told me they will take care of everything and that I will be cleared to play in the IPL. However, as we all know, that is yet to be done. I don’t have anything on me, I passed on all details to the board and he probably has more updates on the situation that me,” Yousuf said.

“I cant’ understand why its taking so long after what I was told initially and now I don’t even know whether I’ll be able to play in the next edition of IPL or not, especially after they [the board] told me I have a three-year contract which will continue for that duration.”

Despite his problems and Pakistan’s poor show of late, Yousuf refused to blame the team management and predicted a much-improved performance in the Champions Trophy, shrugging aside claims of a change at the helm.

“We have home advantage and a good team and due to that I think we will perform well in the Champions Trophy.”



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