Pakistan batting legend Inzamam-ul-Haq
Dubai - Inzamam heaps praise on Babar Azam and Mohammad Nawaz
Like most other teams in world cricket at the moment, Pakistan are in the midst of a transition across all the three formats. And the wind of change has been going along smoothly with some exciting youngsters coming into the fold.
The infusion of young blood has galvanised Pakistan's squads in the T20s, ODIs as well as the Tests. And the change of direction can be credited to their former captain Inzamam-ul-Haq, now their chairman of selectors.
Inzamam, who took over in May after relinquishing his post as Afghanistan coach, has brought about a sea change in the selection processes.
And the 46-year-old was pleased with the how things are shaping up.
"Our bench strength is looking stronger. For one spot, there are two youngsters waiting and it is a good thing for Pakistan cricket," Inzamam said on the sidelines of the first day-night Test in the UAE at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Thursday.
It hasn't been an easy process by any means but the results are starting to show. Pakistan began the tour in the UAE by sweeping the West Indies 3-0 in the T20s before swamping them in the three-match ODIs series.
And there have been a few bright spots, especially Babar Azam and all-rounder Mohammad Nawaz. Both were handed their Test debuts against the West Indies on Thursday.
"Both are good lads and their performance has been brilliant in the ODI series. And (opener) Sami Aslam has already played in England. And today, Nawaz is making his debut. And we are looking at a batsman who can bowl as well," he said.
"Both Babar Azam and Nawaz have done well and as a selection committee, we are trying to give enough opportunities to the youngsters across all formats. We have given some a chance in the Pakistan team, some in the Pakistan 'A' team and some in the side games. So, we are trying to do all this because our players who are playing first class cricket, they don't get disappointed that they cannot make it. We are trying at different stages, to give them a chance. And from those, we are trying to find some youngsters who are good enough to play for the Pakistan team," he added.
But bigger tests await these youngsters with Pakistan set to embark on tough tours to New Zealand and Australia.
After the Test series here, Pakistan play two Tests against New Zealand in November before heading Down Under for three Tests and five ODIs in December.
Inzamam said that it would be tough but looked at the bigger picture by saying that it would be a learning experience for the young guns.
"Pakistan has always done well in New Zealand but we have faced a few problems in Australia. But I feel that the way the team is now, you have be optimistic. Even before we embarked on the England series, I had said that we are touring these countries after maybe six or eight years so definitely it will be a bit difficult for the boys. It is not easy going to a country on tour after such a long gap to go and play well.
"But I believe the way the team is playing now, I'm hopeful that they will give a better performance. Even otherwise, it will be a good opportunity for the youngsters to play in such different conditions and different pitches. It will be a learning experience for them and they will come better from it," felt Inzamam.