Mohsin Khan, Pakistan's chief selector, has praised fast bowler Aizaz Cheema's performance in the one-off Test against Zimbabwe and said it justified the selection committee's decision to use the tour as an opportunity to blood uncapped but promising players. Cheema finished with match figures of 8 for 103, the second best by a Pakistan debutant.
"This tour was the best opportunity for youngsters and they justified our decision, especially Cheema," Mohsin told the Express Tribune. "I watched each of his deliveries and he impressed me with his fitness and commitment.
"I won't rate the win as a huge achievement. The win wasn't against a top-class team but we have achieved our target of finding a fast bowler who can support the other pacers."
Pakistan rested their first-choice fast bowlers Umar Gul and Wahab Riaz for the Zimbabwe tour and opted for a new-look pace attack that included Sohail Tanvir, Sohail Khan, Cheema and Junaid Khan. Cheema, Khan and Junaid played the Test and picked up ten Zimbabwe wickets among them.
"According to our plan, we are giving chances to new players and Cheema with his performance has proved he will be a useful prospect for Pakistan in future," Mohsin told the News. "He bowled with a great heart on a dead pitch. Sohail still has time to prove himself."
The selectors were criticised for the experimental nature of the squad but Mohsin said he was "not afraid of taking these chances for the betterment of Pakistan cricket" and that he had the "full support from the PCB."
"I am here to prepare a strong team with a strong back-up for which you have to take calculative risky steps," he said.
Four Pakistan batsmen got past fifty in the Test, though only Mohammad Hafeez went on to get a hundred. Mohsin said Pakistan needed to guard against complacency in the upcoming limited-overs series. "Zimbabwe will be tough in that format and the team should not take the hosts lightly."
Pakistan and Zimbabwe next play three one-day games and two Twenty20s. The first ODI will be played in Bulawayo on September 8.