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Last Updated:  Thursday, 20 March, 2003, 14:43 GMT
Sohail backs 'rested' players
Chief selector Aamir Sohail insists Shoaib Akhtar and seven other experienced Pakistan players have not been dropped because of their disappointing World Cup performances.

Chairman of Pakistan selectors Aamir Sohail
Latif commands respect from the younger players

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has named an inexperienced squad ahead of next month's triangular one-day series with Sri Lanka and South Africa in Sharjah, led by new captain Rashid Latif.

There is no place for Latif's predecssor, Waqar Younis, along with Wasim Akram, Saeed Anwar, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Shahid Afridi, Azhar Mahmood and spinner Saqlain Mushtaq.

Their places have been taken by relative unknowns such as Mohammad Hafeez, Rana Naved-ul-Hasan and Umar Gul.

But Sohail believes the absence of Akhtar and the older players does not automatically signal the end of their international careers.

"These are precious players for us," the former Pakistan captain told the BBC Sport website.

"Shoaib was struggling with his fitness - but he hasn't been dropped, he is being rested.

We require two or three quality batsman, a new ball bowler and someone who can pick up wickets after 20 overs
Aamir Sohail

"What we are trying to do is get these players rested and use the opportunity to see what we have for the future.

"We have a perfect chance to see how these youngsters can handle the pressure of international cricket."

Pakistan are in the process of rebuilding after their lacklustre performances at the World Cup in South Africa.

Former captain Javed Miandad has succeeded Englishman Richard Pybus for his third spell as coach.

But the biggest surprise was the appointment of Latif, who was persuaded to come out of retirement to replace Waqar as captain, with Yousuf Youhana named as vice captain.

"We never wanted to give the captaincy to a youngster at this particular time, we simply couldn't take that risk," said Sohail.

New Pakistan captain Rashid Latif
Sohail knows the pressures of captaining Pakistan

"Rashid Latif will groom the younger players and at the same time, give them the confidence to succeed at the highest level.

"We also did not want too many captains playing at the same time. We need to make sure Yousuf Youhana has the ability to captain Pakistan or not ."

Despite an abundance of talented players, Sohail is keen to find consistent performers in key positions for the future.

"We require two or three quality batsman, a new ball bowler and someone who can pick up wickets after 20 overs," he said.

"If you look at the match against Australia, Pakistan were 86-4 and they went on to score 300 runs. England were 118-5 and they eventually scored 240 runs.

"There is something missing and we are trying to fill these gaps, trying to get the balance of the team right."





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