Waqar wants to see youngsters grow

Gros Islet, Pakistan, CMC – Pakistan coach Waqar Younis says he is pleased with the strides his side has made and wants his young unit to continue the development against West Indies.

Thursday will signal the start of the Digicel Series 2011 when the two teams meet for the first time in a T20 International. First ball at Beausejour Stadioum is 2 pm (1 pm Jamaica Time).

“The boys have done a wonderful job especially in the World Cup. We knew if we played well cricket interest would come back in the country,” said Waqar, an outstanding fast bowler who snatched 373 wickets in 87 Tests during an illustrious career.

“The only way we could have done that was to do well. It is the first time in our history that we have lost in a semi-final or even before that stage and going back home and being praised. I am really pleased the way the people start understanding cricket and the government has really took on very positively.”

Pakistan played well in the recent World Cup, finishing top of Group A before bowing out at the semi-final stage at the hands of eventual champions India.

Following the tournament, selectors made sweeping changes to the squad with the omission of several seasoned players for the Caribbean trip and Waqar said he was anticipating good performances from the new players.

“We have brought some young cricketers on this tour. It’s a rebuilding sort of phase. I hope these youngsters do well in the first class arena and do well on this trip,” said Waqar.

The young side will be guided by captain Shahid Afridi who had initially decided to opt out of the West Indies series following a hectic World Cup. Speaking on his decision to tour the Caribbean after the early doubt, Afridi said fans had urged him to travel based on the team’s recent success.

“I’ve been playing cricket for some time and it was a good chance to give some of the younger players some cricket but the people wanted me to come to the Caribbean,” Afridi noted. “They just want me to play cricket … and my father forced me a lot.”