Pakistan v South Africa 2013-14 October 6, 2013

South Africa target uncertain top order

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Mohammad Hafeez's omission from the Pakistan Test squad has given South Africa a clear indication of where to draw the battle lines for the two-match series. With Khurram Manzoor set to occupy one opening spot, and the other yet to be decided but likely to be filled with a less experienced batsman than Hafeez, South Africa's seamers are targeting Pakistan's fragility at the top.

"Our pace attack against their opening batters will be important to set up the series for us," South Africa's coach Russell Domingo said ahead of the first training session in Dubai. "Hafeez's form has been a bit of a concern for them for a period of time. But he is a quality bowler and a quality batsmen and we are not displeased that he is unlikely to play a part."

Despite conditions expected to suit spinners more than quicks, Domingo said the fast men will be tasked with putting Pakistan under pressure from the get-go, by exploiting what appears to be their most obvious weakness. Domingo said Test achievements were built on strong first-wicket stands and if South Africa can prevent Pakistan from establishing one, it will set them up in pushing for victory.

"If you look at South Africa's Test cricket, it has been successful because of the way the openers have gone about their business," Domingo said. "Its the most important partnership in any format. If you think of great Test sides, like Australia had Hayden and Langer, that's the kind of thing you need."

Domingo also played down talk of raging turners, saying he was ready should the groundstaff prepare something different. "We've been involved in series where we want a certain type of wicket and we don't get it, so it's difficult to pre-empt," he said. The practice pitch at the Sharjah Cricket Ground told a different story. Imran Tahir and JP Duminy spent a significant amount of time bowling and both found substantial turn.

And Pakistan certainly seem to be expecting spin. Without Hafeez to add to the bowling options, they have Zulfiqar Babar, who will be hopeful of a first Test cap, and who could be their surprise package. "We'll need to have an in depth look at him and do some analysis," Domingo said. "He has obviously got a lot of experience but we need to sit down and do our homework."

So far South Africa have only had time to reacquaint themselves with each other, after not playing as a Test outfit since March. On arrival in Sharjah, they held a bonding session of sorts at an establishment where they watched the country's national rugby team, the Springboks, lose to New Zealand's All Blacks on Saturday afternoon.

The rest of the day was devoted to enjoying some quiet and Domingo hoped it would help in acclimatising, especially to the heat. "When you get here to start with the heat is always stifling but after four or five days, you tend to get used to it."

Work, as is customary in this part of the world, began on Sunday morning when they held their first team meeting. "We had a good chat and emphasised the important elements that made this Test side so successful and how we want to try and continue to do well," Domingo said.

They will have two days of training - today and tomorrow - before a three-day warm-up game against Pakistan A. Domingo said he would have preferred another practice outing but is satisfied that the cricket some of the squad has played in the last few months will ensure they are match-ready. "One warm-up game is not ideal. But its better than nothing," he said. "Quite a lot of the guys have been playing cricket in Champions League, Hashim [Amla] was playing county cricket and some preparing with their franchises."

The last arrival from the CLT20 flew in today. Faf du Plessis was with the Chennai Super Kings and left India on Sunday morning. He traveled straight to the ground to join the practice. Thami Tsolekile, the reserve wicketkeeper, will arrive later in the week. He is on compassionate leave following the death of his mother-in-law.

South Africa will look to play 13 in their practice match to ensure everybody has a "bit of a go," and have the opportunity to size up some of the players who could form part of the opposition. Given that Pakistan are likely to pick their other opener from the cricketers who do duty in the warm-up match, with Ahmed Shehzad the leading candidate, it will also give South Africa's quicks the chance to make a first impression on whoever partners Manzoor at the top.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on October 6, 2013, 15:55 GMT

    SA are clearly the better team here but if the pitches are very flat, then both tests may end up as draws, similar to what happened in 2010. Pakistan's batting line-up looks weaker now, though. SA have an excellent batting line-up and a terrific pace attack. The spin attack will be led by Peterson, and he has a lot to do in these conditions. Pakistan should hope for something special from Ajmal and Abdur Rehman if they want to do well.

  • bouncer709 on October 10, 2013, 16:28 GMT

    Well omission of Mohammad Hafeez has not created any gap, rather it filled the gap in in Pakistan team, now Pakistan have got Ahmed Shahzad, and he is much better than Hafeez. On the other hand Pakistan will go with Abdul Rehman and I hope he too can score more than Hafeez. Even Zulfiqar Babar too can score more than Hafeez. Abdul Rehman and Zulfiqar babar, will be more dangerous for SA in bowling. So Pakistan will be on top of this series.

  • mzm149 on October 8, 2013, 17:19 GMT

    Greatest_Game: I never predicted a series win for Pakistan. I said series will be drawn. Last time when the two teams met in UAE, the result was a drawn series. At that time PCB didn't have much say in preparation of pitches. Now they have much more authority. They are going for spin friendly pitches and actually playing 3 full time spinners. I gave you enough evidence of vulnerability of "current" South African batsmen against spin bowlers on spin friendly tracks.

    In the past, Pakistan was never too much reliant on their spinners ever as their strength has always been fast bowling. They never went for 3 man spin attack. All these spinners are actually world class. Believe me they are going to give tough time to South Africa. Just imagine how South Africa struggled against Ajmal alone in Cape Town, their home ground, when conditions just slightly favored spin bowling. Now bring in two more similar spinners and much more spin friendly (alien) conditions in the equation.

  • Greatest_Game on October 8, 2013, 7:36 GMT

    @ mzm149 writes "Ruling Pakistan completely out at their home ground is quite naive considering they have best spin bowling attack."

    It seems rather naive to believe that Pakistan's really poor record against DA is going to suddenly improve. Pak have the rather u fortunate habit of losing tsts with SA. The record 11 wins for SA, & 3 wins for Pak, 2 of which came in SA. Pak has only ONCE beaten SA at home. ONCE!

  • Crick_Expert on October 8, 2013, 3:03 GMT

    Kingsland Selection Board did great work for PCB and pleasure to announce PAK TEAM as; 1)Nasir Jamshed 2)Ahmed Shahzad 3)Khurum Manzoor 4)Younis Khan(CAPT)(Spin bowler) 5)Umar Akmal(WKT) 6)Umar Amin(Spin Bowler) 7)Shoiab Maqsood 8)Shan Massood 9)AFRIDI(Spin Bowler) 10)Junaid(Fast) 11)Irfan(Fast)

  • on October 7, 2013, 23:57 GMT

    umar gul is a senior bowler and through out his career has learnt how to use the long handle down the order and has been their with akhtar asif amir and wahab riaz while these players went out the team he had always stayed in and he gives performance maybe not the best of them but still as a senior fast bowler he deserves his spot in the team more then wahab riaz does. saeed ajmal and junaid khan without argument deserve the spot. however even though irfan had a poor performance in the test taking 3 wickets in two tests he is a speed star who is tall and can often trouble the batsman. thats why i choose these 11 please cricinfo go through my three comments i am a new fan of cricket since only 2011 so i hope what i said made sense if not please get back to me

  • on October 7, 2013, 23:52 GMT

    through out. misbah and younis are senior and in good form and are good for pakistan at this point. azhar ali plays slow but what else do u need in test matches but maybe the more important problem is his weakness has been figured out by other teams but as for haris sohail he deserves a fair chance in the team he has shown on the national level that he is a really good batsman but he has not been given enough chances even though he flew with the team for many series and pakistan has had batting failures. wicket keepers in pakistan is a problem they keep wickets but don't score runs i think the selectors and the heads of pcb should pay attention towards this for sure. then we have abdur rehman who has had his chances and performed really well but saeed ajmal has been the main name for in the spin department where as babar deserves a chance but how ever taking in notice abdur rehman can bat as well especially while playing 5 bowlers he could come in handy.

  • on October 7, 2013, 23:42 GMT

    1)khurram manzoor or asad shafiq 2)taufeeq umar 3)younis 4)misbah 5)azhar ali or haris sohail wicket keeper any which is best because we don't have to many options abdur rehman or babar umar gull saeed ajmal junaid khan mohammad irfan this is the team which should be playing the test match against south africa khurram is a consistent performer in pakistans first class circuit where as asad shafiq should be moved up because he is a good player but not performing lower down in the order so either one should open in the absence of hafeez. taufeeq umar look at his record against teams like south africa and by no doubt he is a very stable player and has a lot of temperament he is by no doubt the best opener pakistan has for test matches right now for some reason during the tour of south africa nasir jamshed was preferred to him because of his good performance in the odis against india but he failed and since then tawfeeq name has disappeared from the pakistani team even tho he had given goo

  • mzm149 on October 7, 2013, 18:15 GMT

    Jda123 - Spot on mate. But our selectors have some hidden agendas i.e. giving preference to players of certain city over another one. The team you have chosen is perfect. If they go with this team Pakistan can never lose in UAE.

  • Jda123 on October 7, 2013, 16:49 GMT

    Cant understand why Jamshed or Umar Akmal are not in the team... Jamshed can only play on these tracks so he should have played and Akmal is needed.

    Poor choice by Pakistan, should have gone with a team like this -

    1 - Jamshed 2 - Azhar Ali 3 - Younis Khan 4 - Umar Akmal 5 - Misbah 6 - Sohail 7 - WK (Adnan Akmal) 8 - Ajmal 9 - Rehman 10 - Babar 11- Junaid

  • on October 6, 2013, 15:55 GMT

    SA are clearly the better team here but if the pitches are very flat, then both tests may end up as draws, similar to what happened in 2010. Pakistan's batting line-up looks weaker now, though. SA have an excellent batting line-up and a terrific pace attack. The spin attack will be led by Peterson, and he has a lot to do in these conditions. Pakistan should hope for something special from Ajmal and Abdur Rehman if they want to do well.

  • bouncer709 on October 10, 2013, 16:28 GMT

    Well omission of Mohammad Hafeez has not created any gap, rather it filled the gap in in Pakistan team, now Pakistan have got Ahmed Shahzad, and he is much better than Hafeez. On the other hand Pakistan will go with Abdul Rehman and I hope he too can score more than Hafeez. Even Zulfiqar Babar too can score more than Hafeez. Abdul Rehman and Zulfiqar babar, will be more dangerous for SA in bowling. So Pakistan will be on top of this series.

  • mzm149 on October 8, 2013, 17:19 GMT

    Greatest_Game: I never predicted a series win for Pakistan. I said series will be drawn. Last time when the two teams met in UAE, the result was a drawn series. At that time PCB didn't have much say in preparation of pitches. Now they have much more authority. They are going for spin friendly pitches and actually playing 3 full time spinners. I gave you enough evidence of vulnerability of "current" South African batsmen against spin bowlers on spin friendly tracks.

    In the past, Pakistan was never too much reliant on their spinners ever as their strength has always been fast bowling. They never went for 3 man spin attack. All these spinners are actually world class. Believe me they are going to give tough time to South Africa. Just imagine how South Africa struggled against Ajmal alone in Cape Town, their home ground, when conditions just slightly favored spin bowling. Now bring in two more similar spinners and much more spin friendly (alien) conditions in the equation.

  • Greatest_Game on October 8, 2013, 7:36 GMT

    @ mzm149 writes "Ruling Pakistan completely out at their home ground is quite naive considering they have best spin bowling attack."

    It seems rather naive to believe that Pakistan's really poor record against DA is going to suddenly improve. Pak have the rather u fortunate habit of losing tsts with SA. The record 11 wins for SA, & 3 wins for Pak, 2 of which came in SA. Pak has only ONCE beaten SA at home. ONCE!

  • Crick_Expert on October 8, 2013, 3:03 GMT

    Kingsland Selection Board did great work for PCB and pleasure to announce PAK TEAM as; 1)Nasir Jamshed 2)Ahmed Shahzad 3)Khurum Manzoor 4)Younis Khan(CAPT)(Spin bowler) 5)Umar Akmal(WKT) 6)Umar Amin(Spin Bowler) 7)Shoiab Maqsood 8)Shan Massood 9)AFRIDI(Spin Bowler) 10)Junaid(Fast) 11)Irfan(Fast)

  • on October 7, 2013, 23:57 GMT

    umar gul is a senior bowler and through out his career has learnt how to use the long handle down the order and has been their with akhtar asif amir and wahab riaz while these players went out the team he had always stayed in and he gives performance maybe not the best of them but still as a senior fast bowler he deserves his spot in the team more then wahab riaz does. saeed ajmal and junaid khan without argument deserve the spot. however even though irfan had a poor performance in the test taking 3 wickets in two tests he is a speed star who is tall and can often trouble the batsman. thats why i choose these 11 please cricinfo go through my three comments i am a new fan of cricket since only 2011 so i hope what i said made sense if not please get back to me

  • on October 7, 2013, 23:52 GMT

    through out. misbah and younis are senior and in good form and are good for pakistan at this point. azhar ali plays slow but what else do u need in test matches but maybe the more important problem is his weakness has been figured out by other teams but as for haris sohail he deserves a fair chance in the team he has shown on the national level that he is a really good batsman but he has not been given enough chances even though he flew with the team for many series and pakistan has had batting failures. wicket keepers in pakistan is a problem they keep wickets but don't score runs i think the selectors and the heads of pcb should pay attention towards this for sure. then we have abdur rehman who has had his chances and performed really well but saeed ajmal has been the main name for in the spin department where as babar deserves a chance but how ever taking in notice abdur rehman can bat as well especially while playing 5 bowlers he could come in handy.

  • on October 7, 2013, 23:42 GMT

    1)khurram manzoor or asad shafiq 2)taufeeq umar 3)younis 4)misbah 5)azhar ali or haris sohail wicket keeper any which is best because we don't have to many options abdur rehman or babar umar gull saeed ajmal junaid khan mohammad irfan this is the team which should be playing the test match against south africa khurram is a consistent performer in pakistans first class circuit where as asad shafiq should be moved up because he is a good player but not performing lower down in the order so either one should open in the absence of hafeez. taufeeq umar look at his record against teams like south africa and by no doubt he is a very stable player and has a lot of temperament he is by no doubt the best opener pakistan has for test matches right now for some reason during the tour of south africa nasir jamshed was preferred to him because of his good performance in the odis against india but he failed and since then tawfeeq name has disappeared from the pakistani team even tho he had given goo

  • mzm149 on October 7, 2013, 18:15 GMT

    Jda123 - Spot on mate. But our selectors have some hidden agendas i.e. giving preference to players of certain city over another one. The team you have chosen is perfect. If they go with this team Pakistan can never lose in UAE.

  • Jda123 on October 7, 2013, 16:49 GMT

    Cant understand why Jamshed or Umar Akmal are not in the team... Jamshed can only play on these tracks so he should have played and Akmal is needed.

    Poor choice by Pakistan, should have gone with a team like this -

    1 - Jamshed 2 - Azhar Ali 3 - Younis Khan 4 - Umar Akmal 5 - Misbah 6 - Sohail 7 - WK (Adnan Akmal) 8 - Ajmal 9 - Rehman 10 - Babar 11- Junaid

  • on October 7, 2013, 11:54 GMT

    It will not be easy for any team. Spin may come to play only if pcb decides to make super turners not flat. SA have some batting to cope with it too. In UAE during England series, seamers did get good wickets, especially England pacers.

    Pakistan's batting is weak. Khurram is just back from a long delay. ok performance vs ZIM. they should have picked toufeeq if they were off to drop hafeez. The dropping form of Azhar, asad is a concern too. and offcourse a weak batsman as a keeper a major problem.

    Now the talks of playing 3 spinners make it worse and a long tail in batting line up.

    I was and still of the view that hafez should have been dropped but if they are going to play 3 spinners then we needed an allrounder down the order. may be Fawad alam a good option. or any or hafeez down the order.

  • Zeshan547 on October 7, 2013, 10:50 GMT

    With Pakistan you never know and can never predict, but my gut feeling is that this time Pak is going to create some history by winning 1st ever test series vs SA because u all know Pak Perform best when odds are highly against them and when u have least expectations, but SA will not go down without a fight because they are no England, So just wait guys we are going watch something extraordinary, something very special.,

  • on October 7, 2013, 10:23 GMT

    well instead of spinners, i am more excited to see Junaid reversing the ball. He can swing the new ball, reverse it and bowls with intend.

  • on October 7, 2013, 9:16 GMT

    it is good to see if they include Shan Masood instead of Hafeez, give chance to new opener to play some international matches to build up the young cricketers. we have young talent and he proved in domestic cricket in Pakistan, UAE pitches are likely to be same as Pakistan pitches and also Zulfiqar Babar proved that he can bowl a new bawl and older one.

  • on October 7, 2013, 9:12 GMT

    Pakistan's batting line up is extremely fragile.. Why Taufeeq Umar while not the best batsmen out there was not selected is beyond me?? He is probably the only consistent performer for Pakistan in tests. Umar Akmal should have been picked as well ,although very inconsistent can produce flashes of brilliance. Asad Shafiq should also have been an option. The spin attack is heavily dependent on Ajmal and unfortunately Rehman is a line and length bowler who is not an attacking option. He does not pick up wickets. I have not seen enough of the other spinner to make a comment. I think overall the team is quite helpless. My prediction for the series is either 2-1 for South Africa or 1-1.

  • mzm149 on October 7, 2013, 8:59 GMT

    Pakistan might not win the test series but they won't let South Africa win either. The result will be either 0-0 or 1-1. We saw the vulnerability of South African batsmen against spin bowling in Cape Town test against Pakistan and in Sri Lanka series earlier this year. South Africa has a poor record against Asian teams in Durban where conditions are more Asian and favor spin bowling. They lost against Pakistan, Sri Lanka and India in Durban in wach of the last tour of these teams. Ruling Pakistan completely out at their home ground is quite naive considering they have best spin bowling attack.

  • Dirk_L on October 7, 2013, 8:42 GMT

    On fast piches Junaid and Irfan would also be quite a handful. This series may well be about which team's quicks can cope better with not having helpful pitches to bowl on.

  • CricketMaan on October 7, 2013, 8:36 GMT

    Amla, Ajmal with AB will be the difference between the two sides. How quiet will Pak keep Ajmal, AB and how well can SA handle Ajmal will be important. That is not to say others won't make a difference, but so much energy will be spent by both groups on these individuals that rest will almost be either not noticed or quitely have thier say. A good series, though not happy that this is netiher happenign in SA or Pak. Such good Test matches should be in front of home crowd.

  • Z.Saleem on October 7, 2013, 8:20 GMT

    Pak team should go all out, and play 5 batsmen + 5 bowlers + 1 WK. The team should be: Shahzad, Manzoor, Azhar, Younis, Misbah, Adnan, Rehman, Ajmal, Babar, Irfan, Junaid.

  • Slevin7 on October 7, 2013, 7:30 GMT

    Hafeez' bowling is quite adequate, are the players replacing him that much better in both departments to validate dropping him? In these conditions his batting would have been made easier and his bowling more effective. Would have given him another chance on a horses for courses basis.

  • on October 7, 2013, 6:33 GMT

    Hafeez exclusion can now force the selectors to play 3 spinners, which could be quite effective in UAE against SA, as they would probably play the 2nd test without their main batsman, Amla. I think Pakistan must win at least a single test in the series. Which will be more than enough for Pakistan.

  • on October 7, 2013, 4:45 GMT

    No doubt south africa has a upper hand in this series but so did england in 2012 (no 1test side at that moment ) and pakistan played a joke out of them. No doubt south africa can win this series but it wouldnt be a walk in the park like in february, this time pakistan WILL break thier sweat for a win

  • jimbond on October 7, 2013, 4:17 GMT

    Dropping Hafeez would have been a very difficult decision. But of late he had been forcing the selectors to do just that. Despite his recent failures, he still has a test average of 33 which is decent for an opener, and better than most of his team mates. It is in bowling where his contribution was often hidden behind the star bowlers. On some pitches, his performance as a bowler was better than Ajmal. Overall a bowling average of 33 despite being the support bowler, is pretty good (Compare this with a bowling average of Shoaib Malik of over 60) .

  • aa61761 on October 7, 2013, 3:43 GMT

    In last series against SA in UAE, the only sucessful fast bowler was a Pakistani. Stern failed badly. Saeed Ajmal was also not sucessful. Amla, Kallis and AB Devilliers can play spin well. Pakistan will need 3 spinners to win the series. Zulfiqar Babar needs to be included in the team, which means Pakistan has play with only one fast bowler, which is ok in UAE.

  • on October 7, 2013, 2:51 GMT

    A bad dicision . If he is not in form then who was in form.At the moment he is the best all rounder in the world.

  • Pakfan1947 on October 7, 2013, 2:01 GMT

    My request to ICC is please send serious empires to Pakistan/ South Africa series. Advise to these umpires treat both teams equally. Last Pak/SA series left lot of questions on umpiring.

  • Wacky_Cric_Lover on October 7, 2013, 0:56 GMT

    I think leaving Muhammad Hafeez for this series is a big mistake. He was playing good on these pitches and it would have been a good confidence booster for him. Yes he is Steyn's bunny but we could see a different Muhammad Hafeez in UAE. Just check his statistics in this part of the world and you will agree to what I am saying. We need some experience as well to restore the dignity that we lost last month.

  • Stuart_Watson on October 7, 2013, 0:28 GMT

    While I can understand the decision to leave out Hafeez after a a string of underwhelming performances this might actually be a poor time to drop him. I imagine that he might have been just as effective a bowler against SA's left handers as he was against England's and the lower bounce of the pitches would have ameliorated some of his weaknesses as a batsman outside off stump. Even if that's proved right, though, SA might have a surprisingly difficult time in this series. It's spin that wins tests in the UAE not pace. Steyn is a fine bowler, but England lost there despite a fine performance from Anderson and Broad, and SA's spinners are vastly inferior to Ajmal and Rehman.

  • BestB on October 6, 2013, 22:39 GMT

    Dropping hafeez was a tough but a correct decision as he is not in good form and always got out within first 10 overs against SA pace attack. I'd be superb series if the pitches support spins .

  • on October 6, 2013, 22:39 GMT

    It will not be that easy to beat pakistan here as evryone is saying let the time to decide u guys will see better crkt than u thinking... Umer umin must b in playing eleven he is a bettr btsman than shafiq,faisal etc Harris sohail,taufeeq umer and umer akmal must be there to fill remaining spots. My eleven Khurrm Taufeeq or harris Azhar or umer akmal Yonus Misbah Umer amin Adnan akmal Saeed Abdul rehman Junaid Irfan or rahat (irfan if he is match fit) Good luck

  • Ijaz.m on October 6, 2013, 22:24 GMT

    I m expecting worse for Pakistan. I can't see any talent to compete with SA. There is no combined team effort seen. All players playing to secure place for next match. These are surviving tactics rather than for win.

  • on October 6, 2013, 22:00 GMT

    I guarantee a SA sweep. All you pakistani supporters calm down! many years ago ive seen south africa and india take 4 seamers to india and conquer india.. this is pakistan.. an inexperienced, undisciplined, test side.. is ajmal dangerous? of course. is he gonna dominate a line up of 7 specialist batsmen? I doubt it. do I worry about some guys in the subcontinent on SA? yes, alviro, faf and smith are concerns but the rest can make big runs. I only say that because the rest of the guys have games that can suit spin bowling.. well be pakistan because we have experience. we know how to win and we are lead by the greatest test captain ever. listen, we have the 2 best test batsmen and bowlers in the world, arguably the greatest test captain ever and undoubtedly the greatest all rounder ever. everyone simmer down, great teams like this one find ways to win. I doubt we lose to an insignificant pakistan team without there usual openers. we got this

  • gr8-cricket on October 6, 2013, 21:58 GMT

    Pakistan will keep omitting players who are not performing and keep on bringing them back and as such they will face the same results.

    Time to give youngsters chance but I doubt that will happen.

    lost against Zimb and for sure big defeats coming up against SA

  • zzby on October 6, 2013, 21:40 GMT

    Bring back Muhammad Yousuf..

  • on October 6, 2013, 20:34 GMT

    Considering his performance on the tour to SA, and generally against Stein and co, don't think there's much of a gap there.

  • on October 6, 2013, 20:09 GMT

    Doming's analysis is correct but what about his own team. Smith and Kallis are coming after a long break, Alviro is not cut out for these kind of pitches, J.P. Duminy can't handle spin of this quality, which leaves AB Devilliers to carry all the load again. This series might not be as straight forward as most of the South Africans think. Remember, Srilanka .. Well Pakistan is far better than them in subcontinental conditions. I go for 1-1 or 1-0 Pakistan.

  • on October 6, 2013, 20:02 GMT

    Team selection doesn't make sense to me. selecting only 5 batsmen against the top quality bowling side looks odd

  • Omarrz on October 6, 2013, 19:51 GMT

    People who are saying that it will 2-0 in favor of SA live in a fool's paradise. Same was said for England who had a lot better spinner but everybody know what happened to them. This series is in UAE. Pakistan not just in recent times, but every time they have played in UAE have gotten a favorable result. They are a much better team in UAE than in Pakistan itself. Check the entire history of Pakistan's performance in UAE. So, I think SA will struggle to win a single test, either it will be 2-0 or 1-0 in favor of Pakistan.

  • anman on October 6, 2013, 19:29 GMT

    I've been a hardcore Pak fan, since I learned how to walk. After their mediocre appearance against team like Zimbabwe, unfortunately, I do not have good feelings about this. Dropping Hafeez is a good idea. That leaves Pakistan with only Misbah to bat against South Africa! This should be a cake walk for SA! Whatmore is right, Pakistan seems to play for themselves or their region, not for Pakistan. Saeed Ajmal is becoming one of those annoying cricketers who talk the talk but ( lately haven't and) can't talk the talk. Hopefully, after this white wash Pakistan will go back to drawing board and send the entire current team home!

  • on October 6, 2013, 19:21 GMT

    @Master_uv_Puppetz

    You don't need to say any more. You are asking for 3 quality spinners but 1 ordinary spinner is enough for this team as we have seen recently in ISLAND. Part timers like Dilly had cracked the strong batting line up in all games. Those aesthetic statistics have nothing to do here. It is a laughing stock when you are talking about hungry for double/Triple hundred. Fans should hung in reality and should respect all teams whether they are WI, BD or SL. They must kept in mind that any team can challenge SA Team. If these teams aren't there, cricket will be of 3 or 4 nations' proprietary.

  • on October 6, 2013, 19:05 GMT

    Unless PAK find a way to handle the seamers, The result is gonna be 2-0

  • on October 6, 2013, 18:49 GMT

    i think tha the dicision of lefting out m.hafeez in test matches is right dicision

  • on October 6, 2013, 18:24 GMT

    hafeez should not be dropped...he would be handy with the ball too..

  • on October 6, 2013, 18:15 GMT

    The ONLY way we will be able to get anything out of this test series is if Nasir Jamshed and Ahmed Shehzad are in the top order with khurram manzoor. tried and tested failures of asad shafiq, taufiq umar and Imran farhat should stay away from the team as long as possible! I would really like to see umar amin, fawad alam and/or azhar ali in the middle order along with younis khan and msibah ul haq. Younis khan and misbah ul haq need to make several big scores if we are to have any chance in this series. Unfortunately, I expect the worse and predict SAF will easily win 2-0 or 3-0 :(

  • PakFollower on October 6, 2013, 17:59 GMT

    SA has to exploit the gap of not more than 20 runs. So, new opener has to only score more than 25 runs to justify his place. Let see who wins the BATTLE...

  • avmd on October 6, 2013, 17:57 GMT

    Ahmed Shehzad is the new player most likely to be successful against SA. He has the technique and the courage to face the best fast bowler in the world. Umar Amin should also do good in middle order.

  • Izzmail55 on October 6, 2013, 17:18 GMT

    Good thing hafeez got drop saeed ajmal has more runs then hafeez so ajmal can get more wickets then hafeez and get more runs then him too.

  • Greatest_Game on October 6, 2013, 16:00 GMT

    @ Master_uv_Puppetz thinks that "It shouldn't be that easy Mr. Domingo. While Pak top order isn't great but think about batting on the fourth/fifth day against three quality spinners... need i say more?"

    Yes, you do need to say more.

    Think about SA NOT batting on the 4th/5th day? Think about Pak batting on the 1st, against the top 2 ranked bowlers? 49 all out again? Think about Pak bowling to the no.1 & no.3 batsmen? Will AB make another big double? He is hungry for a triple.

    Think about Kallis, eager to better his 107.66 ave vs Paki in the UAE? 3 centuries will put him just behind Tendulkar's record, & he could take it against India in SA. (If, unlike Pak, India has the courage to face SA.) He will be motivated!

    Think about SA determined to improve on their 11- 3 record against Pak, boosting that 3.6 W/L ratio & their test championship rating?

    Lots to think about beyond just spin on the last 2 days. Need I say more?

    Domingo NEVER said it would be easy. You said it - not him!

  • on October 6, 2013, 15:49 GMT

    Even if the professor has not been selected but still zulfiqar will show his metal and rape the proteas.

  • on October 6, 2013, 15:31 GMT

    Give me a break! People who want Hafeez back were the same people that wanted him out of the team. There is no place for him to even play down the order in tests, as we zulfiqar babar to take on the spinners role. The only number he should bat at is number 6 in ODI's and one-down in T20'S. Our squad looks okay to me, as the selectors have selected only the must players, which includes the settled bowlers. To be decided are the other three batsman. In all honesty i think Umar Akmal, Akbar-ur-rehamn, and Nasir jamshed should be the other three players. Good luck Pakistan!

  • gsingh7 on October 6, 2013, 15:18 GMT

    sa gonna win 2-0 i guess since last time these two teams met it was whitewash 3-0. brittle batting and toothlesss bowling from pak side will not win them anything in near future. need to up their game.The Pakistan team is old heavily relying on Misbah, Ajmal and Younis to save the teams blemishes and lack of quality young talent. Its how this Pakistan team will fair without their seniors is the interesting thing but good luck!

  • Stark62 on October 6, 2013, 15:11 GMT

    Hafeez would have been more than a handful in these conditions with the ball but then again, the selectors are very short sighted and are always making silly decisions and are never questioned or blamed by the admins.

    The batting line up looks pathetic and there has been no change in the line up either, except for bringing in Amin for Shafiq but both average around 38 in FC, so no difference there.

    However, Zulfiqar is going to rip the South African batting line up to shreds and they should be very careful of him or else, they'll lose.

  • Master_uv_Puppetz on October 6, 2013, 14:55 GMT

    It shouldn't be that easy Mr. Domingo. While Pak top order isn't great but think about batting on the fourth/fifth day against three quality spinners... need i say more?

  • on October 6, 2013, 14:48 GMT

    Dropping Hafeez down the order rather than dropping him out of the team would have made much more sense. As he is playing well in ODI'S and t20. Pakistan could have made use of his attacking cricket that it is lacking down the order in test matches.

  • on October 6, 2013, 14:46 GMT

    why are Pakistani selectors ignoring T. Umar for opening spot?!! I thought he's done well for team PK in last couple of years

  • on October 6, 2013, 14:36 GMT

    South Africa should win by an inning in both matches

  • on October 6, 2013, 14:33 GMT

    abdul razzak should be in the team but they dont select in squad,he is a good all rounder...

  • on October 6, 2013, 14:32 GMT

    pak time is week thn southafrica bt. mybe boling as battr thn southafrica lets see what hapen on next weak good luck PAKISTAN

  • SurlyCynic on October 6, 2013, 14:25 GMT

    I've made jokes about how we SA supporters will miss the batting of Hafeez, but more seriously I always thought his bowling was dangerous against our batsmen. He struggled with his batting in SA when the ball moved around, but I would have kept him for the flat UAE pitches.

  • Beertjie on October 6, 2013, 14:20 GMT

    Akber-ur-Rehman should he score well in the Pakistan A game should join Umar Amin, Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq (should they bat well in the warm-up game) as three additions in the test team. A good line-up would be: Azhar Ali, Khurram Mansoor, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq, Asad Shafiq, Umar Amin/Akber-ur-Rehman, Adnan Akmal, Abdur Rehman, Sayed Ajmal, Junaid Khan, Mohammed Irfan.

  • calcu on October 6, 2013, 14:00 GMT

    SA should trash Pakistan by 2-0

  • FahadNazir on October 6, 2013, 14:00 GMT

    It's about time to test younger corp of players. I wish that selection committee & team management show some courage and have faith in Ahmed Shahzad & Umar Amin. I guess they will deliver if given chance with trust.

  • Desihungama on October 6, 2013, 13:53 GMT

    I am having shivers just to read Pakistan's selected eleven. 5 batsmen with 2 unproven and 5 bowlers with Rahat Ali destined to fail in UAE pitches. Just one collapse and this team will be reduced to rubble. Misbah, Azhar and Younis may carry the team but you need Umar Akmal to get over the hump. You can't go in with Adnan as keeper. We are way too weak a batting to include a non batting keeper.

  • on October 6, 2013, 13:49 GMT

    Pakistan easily offers early wickets to the pacers and thats what South Africa targeting at. With Khurram Manzoor, Azhar Ali is likely to open which seems a damn weak opening pair. Lets hope the middle order works.

  • on October 6, 2013, 13:39 GMT

    solid thrashing ba SA is coming with Pakistan batting brittle and no batting coach what a shame, selectors seem to be sleeping

  • Jadejafan on October 6, 2013, 13:25 GMT

    South Africa will thrash Pakistan with ease. The Pakistan team is old heavily relying on Misbah, Ajmal and Younis to save the teams blemishes and lack of quality young talent. Its how this Pakistan team will fair without their seniors is the interesting thing but good luck!

  • liaqathussain on October 6, 2013, 12:52 GMT

    Pak squad looks weak in the batting line up ,

    But only person that will really be worried is Dale steyn,

    His free wicket (hafez) has been dropped

  • on October 6, 2013, 12:51 GMT

    Hafeez's bowling could have come in handy. He is a very useful bowler

  • on October 6, 2013, 12:48 GMT

    I think Hafeez should be a part of the team. They could have set him down the order, so he can be utilized as a batsman and bowler. The new batsman should be given full chance and confidence in ODI and T20 first and then to T20. It will tough contest against SA as pak batting is very weak.

  • on October 6, 2013, 12:48 GMT

    I think Hafeez should be a part of the team. They could have set him down the order, so he can be utilized as a batsman and bowler. The new batsman should be given full chance and confidence in ODI and T20 first and then to T20. It will tough contest against SA as pak batting is very weak.

  • on October 6, 2013, 12:51 GMT

    Hafeez's bowling could have come in handy. He is a very useful bowler

  • liaqathussain on October 6, 2013, 12:52 GMT

    Pak squad looks weak in the batting line up ,

    But only person that will really be worried is Dale steyn,

    His free wicket (hafez) has been dropped

  • Jadejafan on October 6, 2013, 13:25 GMT

    South Africa will thrash Pakistan with ease. The Pakistan team is old heavily relying on Misbah, Ajmal and Younis to save the teams blemishes and lack of quality young talent. Its how this Pakistan team will fair without their seniors is the interesting thing but good luck!

  • on October 6, 2013, 13:39 GMT

    solid thrashing ba SA is coming with Pakistan batting brittle and no batting coach what a shame, selectors seem to be sleeping

  • on October 6, 2013, 13:49 GMT

    Pakistan easily offers early wickets to the pacers and thats what South Africa targeting at. With Khurram Manzoor, Azhar Ali is likely to open which seems a damn weak opening pair. Lets hope the middle order works.

  • Desihungama on October 6, 2013, 13:53 GMT

    I am having shivers just to read Pakistan's selected eleven. 5 batsmen with 2 unproven and 5 bowlers with Rahat Ali destined to fail in UAE pitches. Just one collapse and this team will be reduced to rubble. Misbah, Azhar and Younis may carry the team but you need Umar Akmal to get over the hump. You can't go in with Adnan as keeper. We are way too weak a batting to include a non batting keeper.

  • FahadNazir on October 6, 2013, 14:00 GMT

    It's about time to test younger corp of players. I wish that selection committee & team management show some courage and have faith in Ahmed Shahzad & Umar Amin. I guess they will deliver if given chance with trust.

  • calcu on October 6, 2013, 14:00 GMT

    SA should trash Pakistan by 2-0

  • Beertjie on October 6, 2013, 14:20 GMT

    Akber-ur-Rehman should he score well in the Pakistan A game should join Umar Amin, Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq (should they bat well in the warm-up game) as three additions in the test team. A good line-up would be: Azhar Ali, Khurram Mansoor, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq, Asad Shafiq, Umar Amin/Akber-ur-Rehman, Adnan Akmal, Abdur Rehman, Sayed Ajmal, Junaid Khan, Mohammed Irfan.