Selectors look to experience for Sri Lanka
Pakistan may shift their focus back to experience to take on Sri Lanka in the home series in the United Arab Emirates, chief selector Mohsin Khan has said. Khan hinted the bowling attack was likely to be strengthened after testing new players against Zimbabwe.
"We can't just go out [to play Sri Lanka] with the similar combination as it [ the Zimbabwe tour] was just a test for our back-up lot for future prospects," Khan told ESPNcricinfo. "It was a successful experiment but at the same time we are wary of the opposition as Sri Lanka are a tough side to play.
"[Finding talent] is an ongoing process and the emphasis is currently on finding players with good fielding ability."
The Pakistan squad for the recent series against Zimbabwe was an experimental one, with the bowling attack in particular featuring several new names and missing some senior players.
Seasoned fast-bowlers Umar Gul, Tanvir Ahmed and Wahab Riaz, who have been Pakistan's three premier bowlers in recent times, were rested, with Sohail Khan, Sohail Tanvir, Aizaz Cheema and Junaid Khan making up the pace attack.
There were changes in the spin department as well: left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman was rested while legspinner Yasir Shah was called up.
Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq also said the bowling combination needed some changes before the series.
"Senior players have their own importance and we have to go with the [them] when playing Sri Lanka," Misbah told reporters on the sidelines of ongoing Twenty20 Championship in Karachi. "The major goal was to induct youngsters in the side [for the Zimbabwe series] to have a tested lot in the back-up, since we are in the transition process.
"The experimentation actually served the purpose and now we have a tested lot, particularly in fast bowling."
The selection committee will name the squad for the Sri Lanka series in the first week of October.
Pakistan will play three back-to-back Tests against Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah. The first Test begins on October 18 and Pakistan are scheduled to depart for the UEA on October 15.
The Test series will be followed by five ODIs and one Twenty20 game.
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent