Former Pakistan captain and senior batsman Mohammad Yousuf cleared the first hurdle in his bid to revive his international cricket career as he passed a fitness test held at the National Cricket Academy.
Sources in the academy said that Yousuf had cleared his fitness test to the satisfaction of the national team's coach Dav Whatmore, fielding coach Julian Fountain and other support staff.
"Yousuf has been working hard on his fitness with a personal trainer, Irfan Sheikh for the last few months and that showed when he took the test," a source said.
The source said that Yousuf's trainer had done a good job as the senior cricketer is looking much fitter and leaner.
"He has passed his fitness test, plus he has continued to impress Whatmore with his form with the bat in the nets he has had at the academy in the last two weeks," he said.
According to the source, Whatmore now planned to not only have a conditioning camp before the national team leaves for Sri Lanka in late May, but also have some practice matches among the camp probables and Yousuf will definitely get a chance to play in them and prove his form with the bat.
Yousuf said that he did not know the result of the fitness test, which included several phases, but confirmed he had been made to work hard by his trainer.
"I have been working in the gym, swimming and jogging besides spending time in the nets. I am feeling good as far as my fitness is concerned and the ball is also now coming on to the bat well," Yousuf, who will turn 38 in August, said.
The general perception in the Pakistani cricket is that if Whatmore has taken Yousuf's fitness test, he definitely has some plans for the former captain in his mind as there are some tough assignments lined up for the team in the next 12 months.
But chief selector Iqbal Qasim has made it clear that Yousuf will have to play domestic matches to be considered for selection.
Yousuf, a veteran of 90 Tests and 288 One-day Internationals, had last played for his country in late 2010, while his last domestic appearance was during the National Super Eights T20 competition for Lahore in Faisalabad in July 2011. Since then he has not played any domestic matches for any team.