Pak captain eyeing new talent for Australia Tests

Published: Saturday, January 19, 2008, 2:28 [IST]
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Pak earmark Zimb series for talent hunt

Karachi: Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik said Friday that the five-match one-day series against minnows Zimbabwe would help him identify new talent before facing the real test against world champions Australia.

"Before we face Australia, this series against Zimbawbe will give us a chance to test a few youngsters so that we can identify talent," Malik told reporters in the Cup unveiling ceremony ahead of Monday's first match here.

Pakistan named three uncapped players -- opener Nasir Jamshed, paceman Samiullah Niazi and all-rounder Kamran Hussain -- in their 15-man squad announced for the first two matches.

The 18-year-old Jamshed hit a brilliant 182, while Niazi took five wickets in an innings and 34-run win for the Patron's XI against Zimbabwe in a four-day match which ended here on Thursday.

Pakistan also take on Australia in three Tests and five one-day internationals in two months time, a series still hanging in the balance over security fears in the Asian country.

Malik, who has regained fitness after suffering an ankle injury during last month's tour of India, said his team would not take Zimbabwe lightly.

"Zimbabwe have done well in the recent past, having beaten Australia in the Twenty20 World Cup (in South Africa last year) and won a match against the West Indies (at home in November) so we are not underestimating them," said Malik.

Pakistan will be without pace spearhead Shoaib Akhtar who has been dropped for lack of fitness, Mohammad Asif, who is recovering from an elbow operation, and Umar Gul, who is suffering from back trouble.

Zimb no pushovers, says Utseya: Meanwhile Malik's counterpart, Prosper Utseya, hoped his team would lift itself after defeat in the tour opener, reports UNI from Lahore.

Despite being underdogs in the ODI series against Pakistan starting next week, Zimbabwe captain Prosper Utseya is confident that his team will be no pushovers and will give the hosts a run for their money.

''Pakistan are favourites but we are in a positive and confident mood,'' Utseya said.''We are young in age but some of our players have played over 50 ODIs and we have recent victories over Australia and West Indies.'' The 22-year-old skipper stated that his side has the ammunition to beat Pakistan.

''We have a good all-round team and these guys can help us get more experience. We need to put ourselves in a good position not only for this series, but also for the future and the only way we can do that is by winning,'' he said.


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