Young Pakistan team can overpower England: Inzamam

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LAHORE: Chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq is upbeat about the chances of a young-looking Pakistan team defeating England on their home soil in the forthcoming two-Test series.

“Our team is quite capable of winning the Test series against England and the one-off Test against Ireland,” Inzamam said while talking to reporters here at the LCCA ground on Monday after distributing prizes among the cricketers of the teams which played the Muslim Gymkhana annual match.

Inzamam said though the playing conditions for Pakistan in England were tough, he had full confidence in the youngsters who — along with the senior pros — he reckoned could subdue England in the two-match rubber.

In a predominantly young 16-member Test squad, at least seven players are permanent players of Pakistan’s T20 team; they include captain Sarfraz Ahmed, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Haris Sohail, Shadab Khan, Fahim Ashraf and Hasan Ali.

Interestingly, only Sarfraz, Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Sami Aslam, Mohammad Amir and Rahat Ali are the ones in the 16-member touring party who have played Test matches in England in the past.

To a question, Inzamam, whose selection committee has not considered tainted players Asif and Salman Butt — both of whom had completed their ban imposed on them by the ICC in the 2010 spot-fixing case — for national selection despite their impressive show on domestic circuit, said future of no player had ended.

“I do not rule out return of Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif [to national team]. However having said this, our focus is on [talented] youngsters as we are looking at the future,” he said.

Justifying the selection committee’s decision of inducting a number of youngsters into national squad for the England and Ireland Tests, Inzamam said, “Whenever promising youngsters are tested in international competitions, we should not be afraid of defeat as this is the part of the game.”

The chief selector also denied the impression that the pool of players in his tenure had been reduced.

He said the decision to send the Pakistan squad to England much earlier before the start of the one-off Test against Ireland (May 11, Dublin) was taken so that the cricketers got appropriate time to adjust well to the playing conditions before the start of the Test matches. Pakistan’s Tests against England will be held from May 24-28 (Lord’s) and June 1-5 (Headingley).

Commenting on Pakistan crumbling to 168 all out in the ongoing four-day tour opener against Kent at Canterbury, the chief selector said the young players “take some time to adjust to hard playing conditions in England”.

Responding to a query on whether picking just one wicket-keeper in captain Sarfraz Ahmed for the tour of Ireland and England where besides the three Tests Pakistan will also feature in a number of side matches, was the right decision, Inzamam simply said, “We will try to avoid any such bad happening with Sarfraz.”


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