Butt, Asif and Aamer will be hard to replace: Pak chief selector

October 2nd, 2010 - 6:27 pm ICT by IANS  

Karachi, Oct 2 (IANS) Pakistan chief selector Mohsin Hasan Khan fears that he and fellow selectors will find it hard to replace the tainted trio of Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer for the upcoming ‘home’ series against South Africa in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) if they are ruled out of the fixtures.

A former Test opener, Mohsin said the trio were key players and will be “automatic choices” for the assignment if cleared by the International Cricket Council (ICC).

“They are our key players and will be in the squad if cleared to play in the forthcoming series,” Mohsin told ‘The News’ Saturday.

“It will be really tough for us to find their replacement in case they are not available to play against South Africa,” he added.

However, Mohsin stressed that Pakistan will have plenty of talent and will be able to raise a good team to face the Proteas.

Salman, Asif and Aamer were suspended by the ICC last month after they were named in an alleged “spot-fixing” scandal. Allegations were hurled at Asif and Aamer that they bowled deliberate no-balls on Butt’s instructions and accepted bribes from match-fixers.

Pakistan’s Test captain, Butt has appealed against the suspension while Asif and Aamer are expected to follow suit.

Pakistan are scheduled to leave for Abu Dhabi Oct 23 for the series which will begin with a Twenty20 International at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium Oct 26. The series which includes two Twenty20 games, five One-day Internationals and two Tests will conclude Nov 24.

Mohsin said the selectors will announce the squad following discussions with Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi and coach Waqar Younis.

“We are waiting for the (PCB) chairman to return from England. He is expected to return later this week after which we will sit down and finalise the team,” he said.

Meanwhile, senior allrounder Shoaib Malik is hoping to earn a recall for the series against South Africa. Malik, who was dropped after the four-Test series against England in August, said in an interview Friday that he is fully fit and will give his best if given a chance to play in the series.

The former captain advised that Pakistan should finalise their World Cup squad as soon as possible so that the players can play a good number of matches ahead of the quadrennial spectacle to be held in Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka next year.

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