LONDON: Former Pakistan captain Ramiz Raja has lauded the team management’s decision to include two debutants in the playing eleven for the first Test against Australia that started at Lord’s yesterday.
Pakistan, missing the experienced middle-order duo of Mohammad Yousuf and Younus Khan, decided to omit allrounder Shoaib Malik and batsman Yasir Hameed while opting for Umar Amin and Azhar Ali as the 199th and 200th players to represent Pakistan in Test cricket.
“Including youngsters is a terrific sign from Pakistan for the future,” Raja told The Express Tribune. “This should’ve been done much earlier but it’s never too late to look forward to the future. Unfortunately, we’re missing the experienced batsmen but I’ve seen the duo and I think they’re strong mentally and physically to withstand the challenge.”
Pakistan chief selector Mohsin Khan had earlier expressed his concerns regarding introducing youngsters on a ‘difficult tour’ and was initially reluctant to name uncapped individuals for the series against Australia and England.
Raja, citing the example of Malik who made his Test debut as a 19-year-old, said Pakistan cricket had suffered enough with the board’s over reliance on seniors.
“There’s no harm in giving youngsters a chance no matter how difficult the tour is. You’re facing Australia in alien conditions and testing them here will test their character. Even if they can only manage half an hour at the crease, it’s an experience for them, something that will come in handy for them and for Pakistan going forward.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 14th, 2010.