The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Youhana asked for Younis

Lahore: Differences over the delegation of powers between the selectors and Pakistan team management flared up again on the eve of the first Test against South Africa.

Stand-in skipper Yousuf Youhana said he would have included batsman Younis Khan to boost his inexperienced side.

Younis, with 28 Tests behind him and a batting average of 37, was omitted by the selectors after indifferent form in the one-day series which South Africa won 3-2.

At a pre-match media conference on Thursday, Youhana conceded he was not consulted by the selectors in the finalisation of the 16-member Test squad.

“No, I was not consulted by the selectors and I just got the team the next day. Younis is a experienced batsman and should be in the team,” he said.

Youhana suggested questions on the selection and the delegation of powers were put to the PCB or selectors.

“I just work in this system and I have more to worry about (in the form of) cricket,” he said.

On Friday, Pakistan go into the first Test of the two-test series without their most seasoned batsman and captain Inzamam-ul-Haq who is down with a hamstring injury. They are woefully short on experience in comparison to the South Africans.

Youhana, leading the team for the first time in a Test, indicated Pakistan would play three spinners including the two leg-spinners Mushtaq Ahmed and Danish Kaneria with Shoaib Malik as back-up and two fast bowlers Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammed Sami.

South African captain Graeme Smith promised to put behind them the ill-feeling from the one-dayers.

Punishments over various spats included a ban of a one one-day match and two Tests for South African all rounder Andrew Hall and suspending Smith for a one-dayer.

“We crossed the line and we got punished. We have discussed it and we have learnt from our mistakes,” Smith said.

“Hall’s absence is a big loss to the team as he is a strong character and has a big heart,” he added.

Smith agreed Inzamam’s absence was a significant setback for Pakistan. “The younger players will be under pressure to perform,” he said.

Smith had earlier warned his players that Pakistan will be as tough to beat in their Test series as world champions Australia since “the conditions are so difficult.” “The first day of the Test is going to be very important. We will try to put a nail in their feet on the first day and show them we mean business.”

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