DUBAI- Former Pakistan skipper Mushtaq Mohammad believes Pakistan’s ageing team can still excel in the International Cricket Council (ICC) Champions Trophy that starts in England and Wales this week.

“Pakistan stand as good a chance as any other team because Pakistan have been playing well in one-day tournaments. In the shorter version of the game I would like to back Pakistan because they are capable of beating any team,” Mohammad, who played 57 Tests between 1959 and 1979, told Gulf News in Sharjah.

“Test cricket is beyond them at the moment. Pakistan are in the process of rebuilding their team. In both batting and bowling departments they need to find a new brand of youngsters. The quicker they find capable youngsters, the better,” added Mohammad, who also coached the Pakistan team that reached the final of the 1999 World Cup in England.

Mohammad is not surprised by the present state of the Pakistan team. “It is a fact that Pakistan are an ageing team. Like India, who had Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid, we had Misbah-ul-Haq, Younis Khan and Mohammad Yousuf. They are never going to last forever, so you’ve got to find new youngsters and those who come in will have a huge responsibility. It is not easy to follow players of the calibre of Yousuf, Younis Khan or even Misbah. Whichever youngsters they select, I would like the selectors to give them a fair chance,” he said. “To be successful in England, one has to be good enough to play short pitched bowling which comes shoulder high.  You have got to find players with good technique to win there.”

“All these teams like England, Australia and South Africa have worked it out that whenever they’ve got to play India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, they are going to produce hard and fast wickets which suit fast bowling. They will do this when they play at their home grounds. However, the Champions Trophy is a one-day tournament so it can be different, but in Test cricket the situation is the same as I mentioned,” added Mohammad, who was effective as a spinner even on English wickets.

“Saeed Ajmal is probably the best bowler in the world at the moment, but they have still got to find a lot of youngsters who can back him.” To a query on the Indian Premier League (IPL) spot-fixing scandal, Mohammad said: “It is very unfortunate. When you do wrong, it is a wrong anywhere. From what has been appearing in the newspapers and television, the whole world knows it is not right for cricket. India has to sort out this problem and put their house in order. It is a big responsibility and, the sooner they do, it is better for their team.”