Pakistan in Zimbabwe 2011 July 31, 2011

Pakistan looking for reserve pacemen - Mohsin Khan

ESPNcricinfo staff

Pakistan's chief selector Mohsin Khan has said the squad for the tour of Zimbabwe is an opportunity to blood a few young players in the company of more experienced senior players.

"Zimbabwe cannot be taken lightly and our squad was picked with full respect for the opponents," Mohsin told "There was never any real consideration for sending an entirely experimental squad made up of youngsters and players with little or no international experience. With international cricket not returning to Pakistan yet, we seem to have a reduced number of international fixtures and therefore we have less opportunity to experiment."

Pakistan have rested their two strike bowlers Umar Gul and Wahab Riaz, opting for a new-look pace attack that includes Sohail Khan, Sohail Tanvir, Aizaz Cheema and Junaid Khan. Mohsin said Gul and Riaz needed a rest and that Pakistan needed to build a reserve of fast bowlers in any case.

"Umar Gul and Wahab Riaz have been playing constantly in all formats of cricket recently and Umar had a slight injury problem ahead of the tour of the Caribbean. Both Sohail Tanvir and Sohail Khan have proved to the selectors that they are capable of bowling in all formats of cricket; they have shown that their fitness problems are behind them and they have bowled long spells in domestic cricket without any problems. Both of these boys have shown a great deal of promise in all formats and we felt deserved a recall."

While some of Pakistan's cricketers have had a couple of months off after the tour of Ireland, Gul and Riaz have both been playing for counties in England. Sohail Tanvir and Sohail Khan are both making comebacks to the Pakistan side. Tanvir was last in the squad for the tour of New Zealand early in the year, while Khan has been ignored since he played one Test and four ODIs back in 2008-09.

Another player making a comeback to the squad is opener Imran Farhat, who has not played for Pakistan since the England tour last summer. Farhat's return comes after Ahmed Shehzad failed to cement his place in the Pakistan limited-overs side. "We were looking for an outstanding, reliable young opening batsman for the Test arena, but we did not find one for the longer version of cricket," Mohsin sad. "Imran did not have a good tour of England last year and he was subsequently dropped, but he's bounced back well in domestic cricket and had a very good season last time around."

Mohsin also explained the return of Adnan Akmal for Mohammad Salman in the wicketkeeper's slot, saying Adnan had actually been the first choice for the West Indies tour as well. He also said Sarfraz Ahmed, who has been named among the reserve players, is very much on the selectors' radars.

"Adnan was selected, he was our first choice but after some confusion Salman went to the West Indies. That is history now and after a positive meeting with PCB chairman Ijaz Butt, that matter was resolved amicably and the confusion cleared up. We also have another bright wicketkeeping prospect in Sarfraz Ahmed who we have named among the standby players."

While Pakistan have gone in with a new-look bowling attack for the tour, the batting line-up has more familiar faces such as like Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan. But Mohsin said the time had come for some of the younger players to prepare to fill the positions Misbah and Younis will vacate when they retire.

"We are trying to create a group of responsible batsmen to back up the experienced batsmen and the likes of Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq are definitely in that mould. Umar Akmal is another young exciting batsman who I feel has a bright future. The onus now on the selectors is to ensure that we have enough middle-order backup so that when the two senior batsmen do eventually call it a day, then there are able replacements."

The squad for the Zimbabwe tour includes three uncapped players: Cheema, Rameez Raja and Yasir Shah. Raja's call-up comes on the back of consistent domestic performance in all formats. He was the leading run-getter in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy Division One last season, and was top of the run charts again during the recent Faysal Bank Super Eight Twenty20 Cup. Mohsin said what also influenced his selection was Raja's reputation as a lively fielder.

"We felt that the tour of Zimbabwe was the ideal time to give Rameez a chance in international cricket. Rameez is a cricketer who also fields well and this is something that my colleagues in the selection committee and I have really focused upon."

Pakistan's tour of Zimbabwe begins with a two-day practice game starting August 28, and will feature one Test, three ODIs and two Twenty20 internationals.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ali on August 3, 2011, 18:36 GMT

    Talking about looking for reserve pacemen. I've been following Lal Kumar for last two years this guy has pace and he is a very good batsman too (2 centuries so far in first class). Also I always say give chance to your top domestic performers, at least top wicket taker and top run scorer, this will built a healthy competition among the player and they will try to notch up top position in each category every year.

  • Dummy4 on August 2, 2011, 10:33 GMT


  • Farrukh on August 1, 2011, 9:01 GMT

    for God sake PCB u have contributed alot to ruin cricket in Pak plzz all of u just resign its shame that Mr.Ilyas want to promote only imran farhat not pakistani cricket......this is promotion is like a Heera mandi aunty who wants to promote her daughter to b a heroine..

  • Dummy4 on August 1, 2011, 7:47 GMT

    well pakistan cricket team selection has been a laughing stock for some times, they want to give chance to "youngster's" apart from ramiz who is youngster. all know about the real ages of both the sohails, aizaz is in his 30s, and all three are exposed to injuries even at 1st class level so how they will cop with the pressure of international cricket. then where is umer amin, sadaf hussian, raza hassan, usman salah ud din etc. they were all part of previous assignments of pak but now gone. and what happened to tanvir ahmad where he is been over bowled, he has been pak best test bowler in recent times. and wat youngster is imran farhat wow a real find ;) sarfraz ahmed is another one they missed and they are looking the future in misbah as captain in all formats what a great idea. just rubbish all this Pakistan cricket

  • Ather on August 1, 2011, 6:40 GMT

    i am going to turn of my tv when imran farhat coms out to bat and adnan akmal is a good wikcet keeper he defiently deserves this whole tour of zimbabwe and if he fails then sarfraz should be brought in not before adnan akmal tough he has earned his place in the side by having good consistent performances against s.a and new zealand

  • Bobby on August 1, 2011, 4:45 GMT

    This is all good but I am still looking for next Waqar Younis or Saeed Anwar. I did not mention Wasim Akram as he was not as good as Waqar Younis who could make ball curl like a banana..Plus the one who is serving Pakistan instead of random coaching stints at IPL...Saeed Anwar was a similar legend who actually did win matches for Pakistan. Younis Khan needs to raise his game. One also has to feel for Usman Salahud Din and Hammad Azam etc. ZahidSaltin: Sohil Khan is a pretty quick bowler..Probably one of the quickest around Pakistan. Do some research before making comments. Enough has been said about Imran Farhat. It is high time that Pakistan recalls Asim Kamal..A wonderful test batsman with 8 fifities in 12 test matches...Surely he is good enough...Similarly Razzaq and Rana Naveed have been taking truck loads of wickets in English county and lastly, it is sad that we have forgotten Danish Kaneria..The unsung hero of Pakistan's wins..Danish has been cleared and he desrves to be back.

  • arham on July 31, 2011, 18:25 GMT

    imran farhat has got enough chances but he didint performed wats special in diz tour? nothin he will agian fall back n why sarfaraz is not in after so much healthy performance in domestic better then adnan merit

  • Tariq on July 31, 2011, 18:07 GMT

    @Zahidsaltin: you are wrong about the pace of aizaz & sohail khan, sohail khan can bowl upto 145kmh while aizaz i think can bowl 140kmh... And u r absolutely wright about farhat and i totally agree with it... As long as M.Ilyas is in the selection comitte his son-in-law will be the part of team..and about sarfaraz ahmad u r 110% correct he should be the permanent part of the team for Test matches at least...

  • Ali on July 31, 2011, 17:32 GMT

    Pak. selectors should know by now that more than pacers, the country needs batsmen at the moment. When was the last time Pak. scored 300+ routinely in test cricket?

  • Dummy4 on July 31, 2011, 16:27 GMT

    Pakistan should find some good pace bowlers immediately because thats the only department that usually won us the games

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