Pakistan skipper Babar Azam wants to see players given an extended run in the Test team to prove their worth and has come out against making wholesale changes for the home series against South Africa.
The Proteas kick off their first tour to Pakistan in 14 years with a two-Test series against a team coming off the back of resounding defeats in New Zealand.
Babar wants Pakistan continuity
Babar who accompanied the tourists to New Zealand was unable to take the field due to injury but will return against South Africa from 26 January.
The skipper has reportedly been given the final say on team selection with the PCB suggesting they had curbed coach Misbah-ul-Haq’s power to pick the side.
Babar expressed support for young paceman Naseem Shah who struggled to make an impact on green wickets in New Zealand.
“Naseem Shah had a hard time but it’s not possible for a player to perform well in every series. Players need to be backed even if they perform poorly in one series,” Babar told reporters in Lahore on Tuesday 12 January.
The Pakistan skipper will consult with the selection panel before the squad for the series against the Proteas is named, hinting that he would look to retain much of the personnel who did duty in New Zealand.
“The side is excited for the series against South Africa. South Africa is a quality side and it will be a very important series for us. We will go with a positive mindset against South Africa,” Babar said.
“It is crucial to back the team during difficult times and not judge on the basis of one bad series. To build a team, players need to be given consistent opportunities.”
Without Babar in their ranks Pakistan were outgunned in the batting department by the Black Caps, however a return to home soil could be just the fillup they need.
The Amir issue
The skipper also weighed in on Mohammad Amir’s retirement as he opined that the fast bowler was not mistreated by team management.
“Amir’s performance was not the same as before. Now if his performance improves, the selectors will definitely consider his return and talk to him,” Babar said.
South Africa have not won a Test match in Asia since their 2014 triumph over Sri Lanka in Galle, and although they won their last series in Pakistan in 2007, none of the current crop of players were involved in that victory.
Proteas squad for Test series against Pakistan