On the other hand, Pakistan doesn’t have such big names and that many good performances at the back of its players, but they too have a good bunch of players who can give a tough challenge to any opposition and on their day can do wonders.
Nasir Jamshed looks all set to make a debut in the longer version of the game and will be opening with Mohammad Hafeez. Both these players have played will in the practice match and this will definitely raise their confidence. Then comes Azhar Ali, who is their best test batsman over the last couple of years is expected to repeat the same and continue his good form.
With Younis Khan at number 4, he is the most experienced player in the team and is capable of handling any bowling attack. He has been the one of the key performers for Pakistan in batting since very long time and the team needs his presence and performance the most now than any other time.
He needs to perform well to be part of team and guide the youngsters in the series. With captain cool coming next in the lineup, he looks to score some big scores which he is missing under his name in the longer version. Though he has some good knocks, he failed to convert them in to some big scores.
Asad Shafiq who has played well in this format of the game is expected to be part of the eleven and can be pushed up the order based upon the conditions. Sarfraz Ahmed, has a point to prove that he can bat well and will suit the format and he has passed the first test in the practice match.
He has played very well and showed some quality which is worth watching and giving a longer run for him will be what Misbah will be thinking of about this young man.
Bowling unit of Pakistan have been their strength and they will be trying to prove that they are no lesser than the South African attack. To prove this, they needs their most experienced man Umar Gul perform well.
He is the key of for Pakistan coming good in the series and with the younger bowlers like Junaid Jhan, Mohammad Irfan, Haris Sohail, Ehsan Adil in the squad, he needs to mentor them and should support the younger bowlers. All these young bowlers have lots of talent and will be trying to prove themselves once they were given the chance. But what they need to do is to stay calm and try to be as simple as they can and do the basics right.
They should know that they shouldn’t try too many things and let South African team get away with their mistakes. Even though there is Abdur Rehman in the team who has done decently well in the past few series, Saeed Ajmal will be the lone spinner playing the match and he should be at his best to make the opposition batsmen struggle. The off spin of Mohammad Hafeez comes handy and will be used the captain intelligently. The other thing Pakistan needs to make sure is that they don’t miss too many opportunities in the field. They should field well to put pressure on the South African batsmen.
Here are few quick facts to know going into the series.
- Graeme Smith will be playing his 100th test as the captain. He has captained South Africa in 98 tests and has led the World X1 team against the Australians.
- Hashim Amla is the only batsmen to score with the test average of over 70 for the last three years.