The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) last week unexpectedly named middle-order batsman Umar Amin to lead the Pakistan A team, overlooking several senior players for the role.
According to the board, the reason was simple — they wanted to test a youngster as they look for long-term solutions for captaincy as current skipper Misbahul Haq’s regime could be nearing an end.
Various names including Asad Shafiq and Azhar Ali were being debated for leading the team in the future but the PCB picked Amin first for the trial.
The Rawalpindi-born batsman, who will celebrate his 24th birthday on October 16, will lead the side against South Africa in a three-day warm-up before the series in the UAE.
In his first media appearance after being given the responsibility, the left-handed batsman exuded confidence and perseverance.
“It’s not the first time I am captaining any team,” he said at the inaugural day of Pakistan’s training camp that began in Lahore yesterday.
“I have previously led Pakistan U25, U21 and regional teams with success.”
Amin stressed he was not taking undue pressure on being considered the future Pakistan captain.
“It’s not an added burden for me. I am just focusing on my individual game.”
Asked about his strategy as a captain, Amin said it varies depending on the situation.
“For teams like South Africa, you’ve got to be aggressive. But strategies are made on the day by looking at the conditions.”
Amin has 4,569 first class runs from 72 matches at an average of 38 and has scored just 99 runs from eight Test innings at an average of over 12 runs. In nine One-Day International (ODI) innings, he has scored 173 runs at an average of over 21 runs.
“I think my performance is satisfactory if you look at the positions I’ve played in. I am completely focused and will prove myself as a captain by playing well.”
Amin said Pakistan will go with confidence against the top-ranked Proteas in the series that includes two Tests, two Twenty20s and five ODIs.
“We had a good competition against them this year in South Africa. We defeated the side in a warm-up game at the Champions Trophy.
“We will have an advantage due to similar conditions in the UAE which will give us edge against them.”
Junaid aims to unleash reverse swing
Junaid Khan is hoping to excel against South Africa, saying he was working hard with bowling coach Mohammad Akram for the series.
The fast-bowler said he had no pressure of facing the tough opponents on the slow tracks of Abu Dhabi.
“The burden is not only on me,” said Junaid. “We have a good fast-bowling attack while our spin bowlers have been phenomenal.
“As far as I am concerned, I am positive and aiming for a good show. The tracks in the UAE support reverse swing and I am looking forward to bowl in right areas.”
Meanwhile, spinner Saeed Ajmal and fast-bowler Rahat Ali were the absentees on the opening day of the camp.
Apart from the Test probables, several other players including Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Irfan are also attending the camp.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 1st, 2013.