Karachi:Pakistan captain Younis Khan is banking heavily on the experienced duo of Shoaib Akhtar and Shahid Afridi to fire in the coming series against Australia in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Younis said he was happy to see injury-prone Shoaib back in the side for the five One-Day Internationals and Twenty20 game.
"He has worked hard and I am confident he will play out the full series. His return is a good sign for us as he is a very experienced performer," Younis said on Wednesday.
The senior batsman pointed out that both Shoaib and Afridi had this habit of performing well against top opposition.
"I am banking a lot on them although we require a complete team effort to beat the Australians," he added.
Younis pointed out that Pakistan had some top all-rounders in Shoaib Malik, Afridi and Sohail Tanvir and felt the trio would have to make significant contribution if Pakistan were to win the series.
"It is going to be a tough series and we need to put in a collective effort. Even though Australia will be without their regular captain Ricky Pointing and inform all-rounder Michell Johnson, the return of Andrew Symonds is a big plus for them as he has always been a successful performer against us," Younis said.
He said the selectors had named a balanced side for the series and the inclusion of off-spinner Saeed Ajmal was a well thought out plan.
"The Australians normally have problems against quality spinners and Ajmal is a very experienced and mature performer who has improved a lot. He now has a chance to show his worth against a top side in demanding conditions," Younis said.
The Pakistan captain said despite not playing too much international cricket, his teammates were enthusiastically looking forward to the series.
"After the problems Pakistan cricket has faced in recent times due to security issues, this series is a good chance for us to give our people something to be happy and joyous about," he said.
Pakistan coach Intikhab Alam also described the team as a balanced one and said Shoaib Akhtar was back after proving his fitness.
"The Australians are a top side and they will be coming into the series after another tough series in South Africa. But the conditions in Abu Dhabi and Dubai suit us and that will give us the edge," Alam said.