Yousuf decides against joining Leicestershire

Former Pakistan batsman Mohammad Yousuf will not be joining Leicestershire as an overseas player for the coming season.

Yousuf, who had a brief stint with Warwickshire last season, was at an advanced stage of negotiation with Leicestershire but has failed to agree personal terms.

“We have been in talks for several weeks but unfortunately a problem arose this week which, between us, we could not solve. We are disappointed and are now looking at other options,” said Leicestershire chief executive Mike Siddall.

Last season Warwickshire encountered a similar scenario with Yousuf when they attempted to persuade him to stay with them for the second half of the season.

But Yousuf was reluctant to play one-day cricket, and he also wanted to take time off during Ramadan, so Warwickshire turned to New Zealander Jeetan Patel and West Indies batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul instead.

Yousuf did return to England to play some club cricket for Smethwick but he arrived too late to save them from relegation from the top flight of the Birmingham League.

His decision not to link up with Leicestershire is a further blow for a county who have already lost their best young batsman, James Taylor to Nottinghamshire.

Former South African batsman Martin van Jaarsveld, who had been signed from Kent as a Kolpak player, changed his mind and announced his retirement from county cricket and last season’s overseas player, Australian all-rounder Andrew McDonald, is no longer eligible to play county cricket as he has played insufficient international cricket.

Meanwhile, Leicestershire’s Friends Life t20 success last August helped them to win the Team of the Year Award run by their local newspaper, the Leicester Mercury.

Leicestershire beat off competition from Coalville Town football club and Leicester Ladies hockey club to take the prestigious award at a ceremony at Welford Road, home of Leicester Tigers rugby club.

A number of players who helped Leicestershire win the Twenty20 Cup competition for the third time were in attendance at the awards evening along with county officials.

“We’re absolutely delighted that the team’s performance in winning the Friends Life t20 trophy for a record third time has been recognised with the Leicester Mercury Team of the Year Award for 2011,” said Siddall.

“The success throughout the competition was based on a team ethic with every member of the squad making a valuable contribution.”

Leicestershire’s talented young batsman Shiv Thakor was commended in the Young Sportsman category alongside Raphell Thomas-Edwards.

The teenager became the first Leicestershire-born player to make a century on first-class debut against Loughborough UCCE last season and he helped to break Leicestershire’s all-time record partnership for the fourth wicket alongside James Taylor.

Leicester Tigers’ fly-half George Ford won the award after having an outstanding breakthrough campaign in which he was voted the International Rugby Board’s Junior Player of the Year.

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