Iqbal Qasim, the chief selector of Pakistan, has said that there is no guarantee Shahid Afridi will be picked for the limited-overs tour of India next month, saying his performances in the domestic Twenty20 tournament coming up would decide whether he is on the flight to India or not.
Qasim, a former left-arm spinner, said Pakistan would prefer as much experience as possible in the first bilateral series between the teams since December 2007, but told newsmen in Lahore, "India tours have always been tough ones We are wary about India being a very strong host and we want to pick a combination very carefully. Expect no sweeping changes. We need to strengthen the combination with experience but there is always room for an outstanding young talent."
"Nobody, not even Afridi, gets an automatic place in the side at the moment. Afridi is a fine player and has performed well in past, but the upcoming (domestic) Twenty20 cup is the opportunity for him to perform and we will watch him. I am optimistic about him, as he has done a lot in past and still has a lot of cricket left in him."
Pakistan are scheduled to play two Twenty20 Internationals and three One-Day Internationals during their short tour of India beginning in the last week of December, and the selectors are expected to pick the squad after the domestic T20 tournament ends on December 10.
After the India tour, Pakistan are scheduled to travel to South Africa for a full tour in the New Year, and Qasim said there was a possibility that Mohammad Yousuf, the right-hand batsman and former skipper who hasn't played for the country for more than one year now due to personal reasons, could figure in the squad.
"We obviously need experienced batsmen for the difficult South Africa tour, and we intend to use Yousuf's services if he steps up and shows us he's in form," Qasim said, looking ahead to the tour that will comprise three Tests, two T20Is and five ODIs in February and March.