England tour crucial for Pakistan, says coach Waqar

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/w/waqaryounis.jpg' class='caption'> Waqar Younis said England tour would be crucial for rebuilding the team, pinning his hopes on an influx of fresh blood to turn their fortunes around.

Updated: June 03, 2010 18:08 IST
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Lahore, Pakistan:

Pakistan coach Waqar Younis said on Wednesday next month's England tour would be crucial for rebuilding the team, pinning his hopes on an influx of fresh blood to turn their fortunes around.

Pakistan face a hectic four months, starting with the four-nation Asia Cup in Sri Lanka from June 15, then playing Australia in two Twenty20 and two Tests in England before taking on their hosts in four Tests, two Twenty20 and five one-day games.

Waqar, who returned from Sydney on Tuesday, said he needs focus and unity from the team.

"We are starting a hectic period with the Asia Cup but I think the England tour is very important for the team, where we need to adopt a rotation policy and I think some new players will come into the fray," Waqar told reporters.

Waqar, 40, took over as coach in March following Pakistan's disastrous tour of Australia where the team lost all three Tests, five one-day and a Twenty20 match. Under him Pakistan made the semi-final of the World Twenty20 last month.

The Pakistan Cricket Board has named a 35-man preliminary squad for the Asia Cup and tour of England, including a number of newcomers. A final squad for the Asia Cup is expected to be announced on Thursday.

"I think the objective behind naming a number of youngsters is to encourage them and it is important that players be rotated because we have a series against South Africa in October-November this year as well," said Waqar.

Waqar backed Shahid Afridi, who was last week named captain for the Asia Cup and tour of England.

"Afridi has not led Pakistan in Tests before," said Waqar. "But he conducted himself well in the World Twenty20 and unity and fighting spirit would be the key to success and he can achieve both from the team."

Waqar said ace batsman Mohammad Yousuf cannot be forced out of retirement.

"Yousuf seems to be adamant on his retirement and although we need him for Tests, we cannot force him out of retirement," said Waqar.

Yousuf was one of seven players banned and fined by an inquiry committee in March soon after the Australia tour. He retired in protest while the other six players have appealed against the sanctions.

Shoaib Malik, one of the penalised players, had his one-year ban overturned last week and is now free to play for Pakistan.

Appeals against Younus Khan's indefinite ban and a one-year ban on Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, plus fines on Afridi, Kamran Akmal and Umar Akmal are pending.

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