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November 17, 2012
While Pakistan will look to select as many experienced players as possible for their limited-overs tour of India in December, Shahid Afridi will not be a sure pick, according to chief selector Iqbal Qasim.
"India tours have always been tough ones," Qasim said in Lahore. "We are wary about India being a very strong host and we want to pick a combination very carefully. Expect no sweeping changes. We need to strengthen the combination with experience but there is always room for an outstanding young talent.
"Nobody, not even Afridi, gets an automatic place in the side at the moment. Afridi is a fine player and has performed well in past, but the upcoming [domestic] Twenty20 cup is the opportunity for him to perform and we will watch him. I am optimistic about him, as he has done a lot in past and still has a lot of cricket left in him."
Pakistan's selectors will pick the squad for what is their first bilateral series with India since they toured India in late 2007 after the conclusion of their domestic T20, which ends on December 10. Pakistan had dropped seniors Younis Khan and Umar Gul from the one-day squad for the three-match series against Australia in the UAE in August-September; the selectors plan to back experience could see them return. It appears Imran Nazir, Mohammad Sami and Abdul Razzaq's places will also be debated by Qasim's panel.
Qasim also hinted that Mohammad Yousuf, the veteran batsman of 90 Tests who hasn't played any cricket in over a year due to personal reasons, could be in contention for Pakistan's tour of South Africa early next year. "We obviously need experienced batsmen for the difficult South Africa tour, and we intend to use Yousuf's services if he steps up and shows us he's in form." Pakistan play three Tests, followed by two T20s and five ODIs in South Africa in February and March.
Yousuf had said earlier this year that he is keen to make a comeback to the national team and was asked by the selectors to play domestic cricket first. He hadn't played any domestic tournaments since June 2011, but has been included in Lahore's team for the national T20, and had applied - though is yet to be cleared by the PCB - to play for Port Qasim Authority in the ongoing first-class President's Trophy.
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