His exclusion from the Asia Cup-bound squad, notwithstanding, Younis Khan still remains a key figure in Pakistan's Test squad and the team will need his experience in the forthcoming tour to England, captain Shahid Afridi said.
"I don't think it is a big problem that Younis has not been picked in the one-day squad but we definitely need him for the Test matches," Afridi said. "I just hope that Younis is able to score runs for Surrey in England. It will be good for us because he is already playing there and would have got used to the English conditions by the time we go there," he said. "I am sure he will be ready for a Test comeback in England," Afridi added.
Former captain Younis was banned for an indefinite period by the Pakistan Cricket Board in March for creating disharmony in the team due to his differences with Mohammad Yousuf. The PCB took disciplinary action against six other players for misconduct during the disastrous Australia tour. Younis, however, has appealed against his ban insisting he is innocent and had asked the board to provide evidence of the charges leveled against him.
Meanwhile, Afridi lauded Shoaib Akhtar's selection in the Asia Cup squad, saying the controversial pacer deserves an opportunity to revive his fledging career. "We go to England after the Asia Cup and we want to see how his (Akhtar) comeback goes in the Asia Cup so that we know where we stand," the Pakistan skipper said. "Shoaib (Akhtar) himself has this urge to return to international cricket and make an impact. Whenever a player is out for so long he is desperate to make a comeback and works much harder towards his goal," Afridi said.
He also pointed out that Akhtar's form and fitness would be monitored in the conditioning camp in Lahore before the Asia Cup to be held in Sri Lanka from June 15 to 24. Afridi, however, refused to buy the theory that Akhtar, who is making a comeback to the national team after 14 months, would struggle in the hot and humid Sri Lankan conditions. "He is a professional cricketer and one has to be prepared to play under all conditions. It is much hotter in Lahore than Sri Lanka," he said.
He also said that he was satisfied with the team given to him for the Asia Cup, which includes three youngsters in hard-hitting opener Shahzaib Hasan, Umar Amin and Asad Shafiq. "I am satisfied with the team as we wanted to give chance to youngsters. So let us see how it goes and how they perform at the international level," he said.