Younis not bothered by lack of Test exposure

February 20th, 2009 - 5:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Karachi, Feb 20 (IANS) Pakistan will be playing their first Test in 14 months when they clash against Sri Lanka in the two-match series opener in Karachi from Saturday, but new captain Younis Khan doesn’t believe that lack of Test exposure will be a handicap for his players.

Younis, 31, told reporters here at the National Stadium Friday that he and his boys are perfectly ready for the opening Test. He would love to begin his captaincy tenure with a victory, he added.

“It’s true that we haven’t played a single Test in the last 14 months or so,” said Younis, who was handed Pakistan captaincy last month after all-rounder Shoaib Malik stepped down as skipper following Pakistan’s embarrassing 234-run defeat against Sri Lanka in the ODI series finale.

“But fortunately the boys have played a lot of one-day cricket and several matches were against Sri Lanka. In addition, all of us have been playing four-day matches which is why I don’t think we will face many problems in this match,” said the experienced middle-order batsman.

Younis, who has played 58 Tests, said his team will try to overcome the absence of senior players like fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Yousuf.

“Senior players are not going to be around for ever,” he said. “We don’t have players like Shoaib, Yousuf, (Abdul) Razzaq and Shahid Afridi but the younger boys are good and I’m looking forward to a good series against Sri Lanka.”

Pakistan are all set to field at least two uncapped youngsters in the playing eleven.

Younis said of the 15 players in the Test squad three - comeback middle-order batsman Asim Kamal, all-rounder Fawad Alam and young opener Ahmed Shahzad - have been left out of the 12 for the series opener.

The 12 remaining players have three uncapped players - opener Khurram Manzoor and pacers Sohail Khan and Mohammad Talha. Younis said his boys will have to give their best to beat Sri Lanka, which he described as a dangerous team.

“Sri Lanka has some very good players. They have the combination of (Muttiah) Muralitharan and (Chaminda) Vaas like the Australians once had (Glenn) McGrath and Shane Warne. Then (Kumar) Sangakkara is in fine form and though their captain (Mahela) Jayawardene is struggling at the moment, he is a great player and can return to form anytime.”

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