LAHORE, Pakistan (AFP) - Pakistan cricket captain Misbah-ul-Haq on Monday urged his team's new talent to take advantage of the tour of Zimbabwe to rebuild the crisis-hit national side.
A new-look Pakistan play a two-day practice match in Bulawayo from August 28, then a Test at the same venue from September 1. They also play three one-day internationals and two Twenty20s on the tour.
Misbah will lead Pakistan in all three formats of the game after Shahid Afridi retired when he was dumped as one-day captain two months ago.
Misbah said the new players must take their chances.
"All the new players who have taken the place of the seniors have performed at domestic level and this tour of Zimbabwe will give them a chance to show their ability at an international level," Misbah told a press conference.
Pakistan have surprisingly rested frontline pacemen Wahab Riaz and Umar Gul, and dropped Tanveer Ahmed. The selectors recalled Sohail Tanveer and Sohail Khan, and included new fast bowlers Junaid Khan and uncapped Aizaz Cheema.
Left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman, Pakistan's successful bowler in the West Indies on their last tour, is also rested in favour of uncapped leg-spinner Yasir Shah.
"After a long time a number of seniors have left together, so every team comes across such times and then replacements are found by trying out some new players who can play like those seniors," said Misbah.
Besides Afridi, Pakistan have lost three key players in opener Salman Butt and pacemen Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer -- banned this year in a spot-fixing scandal.
The trio face criminal charges in Britain over charges stemming from Pakistan's tour of England last year.
Senior batsman Mohammad Yousuf lost favour with the selectors, while wicketkeeper-batsman Kamran Akmal, former captain Shoaib Malik and seasoned leg-spinner Danish Kaneria were left out over fixing suspicions.
Misbah denied Pakistan were not taking Zimbabwe seriously.
"We are not taking any team lightly," said the 36-year-old.
"If we relax then we are in trouble and by giving chances to youngsters we are not experimenting because all these young players have come into the team on merit."
Pakistan fly out to Zimbabwe on August 25.
On their return to Test cricket after five years, Zimbabwe beat Bangladesh in the only Test and are 2-0 ahead in the ongoing five-match one-day series.
After Zimbabwe, Pakistan play Sri Lanka in three Tests, five one-dayers and one Twenty20 match in the United Arab Emirates in October and November.