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Pakistan rely on youth
Injuries allow Pakistan's lesser known bowlers a chance to shine.
Last Modified: 20 Jan 2008 18:03 GMT

Rao Iftikhar has been asked to lead the attack for
Pakistan [GALLO/GETTY]
Pakistan will rely on inexperienced fast bowlers when it takes on Zimbabwe in the first of the five-match limited-overs series.

In the absence of injured frontline pace trio, Mohammad Asif, Shoaib Akhtar and Umar Gul, Pakistan selectors have drafted in rookie Samiullah Niazi to assist medium-fast Rao Iftikhar and unorthodox left-arm seamer Sohail Tanvir.

Iftikhar and Tanvir led Pakistan to victory in the fifth and final one-day international against India at Jaipur last month, but Pakistan still lost the series 3-2 to its archrival.

It had been bumpy ride for captain Shoaib Malik over the last seven months since he replaced Inzamam ul Haq after Pakistan's ill-fated World Cup in the West Indies.

Malik began his captaincy with a victory over Sri Lanka in the three-match one-day series at Abu Dhabi, but Pakistan then lost both test and one-day series against South Africa at home and against India in India.

Pakistan has also included uncapped left-handed opening batsman Nasir Jamshed, who scored a century against Zimbabwe in the four-day game for Patron's XI, and all-rounder Kamran Hussain.

The selectors retained the strong middle-order batting line-up of Misbahul Haq, Younis Khan and Mohammad Yousuf.

Zimbabwe recently defeated the West Indies at home in a limited-overs game and also sprung a surprise when it defeated Australia in the World 20-20 event in South Africa.

But the visitors started this Pakistan's tour with a defeat in the four-day game in which captain Prosper Utseya had to sit out due to an ankle injury.

For the visitors, senior players Ray Price and Gary Brent showed some form.

Price, who is expected to share the spinners' role with captain Utseya in the one-day series, took four wickets in the four-day match while Brent showed resistance late in the batting order.

The Pakistan Cricket Board hopes that the series, which starts on January 21, against Zimbabwe goes smoothly so that it can host Australia, which is monitoring the security situation in the country.

The second match will be played at Hyderabad (January 24), followed by matches at Multan (January 27), Faisalabad (January 30) and Sheikhupura (February 2).

Squads:

Pakistan: Shoaib Malik (captain), Salman Butt, Younis Khan, Mohammad Yousuf, Misbahul Haq, Nasir Jamshed, Kamran Akmal, Sarfraz Ahmed, Shahid Afridi, Fawad Alam, Kamran Hussain, Samiulah Niazi, Rao Iftikhar, Sohail Tanvir, Yasir Arafat.

Zimbabwe: Prosper Utseya (captain), Gary Brent, Chamu Chibhabha, Elton Chigumbura, Keith Dabengwa, Timycen Maruma, Hamilton Masakadza, Stuart Matsikenyeri, Chris Mpofu, Tawanda Mupariwa, Ray Price, Vusi Sibanda, Tatenda Taibu, Brendon Taylor, Sean Williams.

Umpires: Zameer Haider, Pakistan, Asoka de Silva, Sri Lanka.

Source:
Agencies
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