Karachi:Pakistan might not have played Test cricket for over a year, but skipper Younis Khan has brushed aside concerns about their ability to do well during the two-match series against Sri Lanka commencing here on Saturday.
"I don't think that we are playing after nearly 14 months is a big concern as the cricketers have been playing lot of domestic cricket and so they are ready for the longer version of the game.
"If we play hard and competitive cricket, we can do well. We have a good side and I am confident about it. Our bowling is sharp and penetrative," Younis said today. Lahore will host the second Test from March 1.
Younis, who replaced Shoaib Malik as the helmsman of the team, also dismissed speculations that the former captain will be opening the innings for the team during the series.
"Malik is now a very matured and complete batsman and we might consider him to open in the one-dayers or Twenty20 matches but Test cricket is different. I don't want to take any risks. I believe in going with specialist players," Younis said.
The senior batsman also cautioned his teammates not to underestimate the visitors from the island country and said: "They (Sri Lanka) have some very good players and the bowling partnership of Chaminda Vaas and Muralitharan is especially dangerous. They operate like McGrath and Warne. So we have to be careful."
Younis also threw weight behind the under-attack wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal and insisted his batting skill will add to the performance of the team during the Test series.
"I know there has been criticism about his keeping but overall he is a good team-man and his batting is valuable. He has done well in recent times," Akmal said.
12-member Pakistan team for the first Test:
Younis Khan (Capt), Misbah-ul-Haq, Salman Butt, Khurrum Manzoor, Shoaib Malik, Faisal Iqbal, Kamran Akmal, Sohail Khan, Umar Gul, Mohammad Talha, Yasir Arafat and Danish Kaneria.