3 to 4 youngsters should be selected in Asia Cup squad: Afridi

Karachi: Newly-appointed Pakistan Test captain Shahid Afridi was of the view that three to four young players should be included in the 15-member squad for the Asia Cup to be held in Sri Lanka from June 15.

“We should have three to four new players along with the seniors so that we can strike the right balance in the one-day side,” Afridi said on Monday.

“I think the time is right to start grooming and giving exposure to some of our young lot because we also have to keep the 2011 World Cup in mind,” he said.

Reminded that the selectors have ignored young all-rounder Hammad Azam from the 35-member list of probables for the Asia Cup and the subsequent tour to England even though he was part of the Twenty20 World Cup squad in the West Indies, Afridi said neither he nor coach Waqar had any hand in the selection of the T20 squad.

“The selectors had picked that squad but as a matter of policy myself and the coach want to give exposure to young players so that they can provide stable support and back up to the seniors in future,” he said.

Afridi, however, refused to comment on Shoaib Malik availability for the Asia Cup and England tour after the PCB appeals tribunal had lifted the one-year ban imposed on the former skipper.

“It is something that concerns the board. As far as I am concerned whoever is eligible for selection is an important player for me,” he said.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s long-serving manager Yawar Saeed said that he did not foresee any problems in the team with the expected return of Malik.

Malik came in for sharp criticism from Afridi, former captain Mohammad Yousuf, former coach Intikhab Alam and manager Abdul Raquib for his behaviour and attitude on the troubled tours to New Zealand and Australia.

Malik was described as a intriguer and responsible for creating disharmony in the team. But Yawar, who was not part of the Pakistan contingent on twin tours of New Zealand and Australia, said he did not think there would be any disciplinary issues on the upcoming series.

“All these players have played before when I was manager and I faced no problems at all from them. They know each other well so I don’t think it is a big thing if Malik or even Younus Khan is selected in the side,” said Yawar, who was a member of the PCB inquiry committee.

“There is no personality clash involved anymore and the New Zealand and Australian tours are past. The code of conduct on tour is the same for any player. I am confident no player will give me or PCB any cause for complain,” he said.



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