Pakistan in South Africa 2012-13

Pakistan attack can challenge South Africa

Firdose Moonda in Johannesburg

January 21, 2013

Comments: 190 | Text size: A | A

Younis Khan battled through the morning session, Sri Lanka v Pakistan, 1st Test, Galle, 4th day, June 25, 2012
Pakistan will need Younis Khan to use all his experience on lively South African pitches © AFP
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There are some places Pakistan have not played cricket in for even longer than their home country. South Africa is one of them.

Having last played a Test here in 2007, India is the only other place Pakistan have not featured in whites for the last six years although they played a one-day series in India recently. South Africa remains an uncharted territory for much of the squad. It has been so infrequently visited that none of the current Test bowling attack have played a Test in the country.

They have missed out. Known for their pace and bounce, South African surfaces are among the favourites of quicks the world over and Pakistan's pack cannot wait to get stuck in. "Junaid Khan would love to bowl in these conditions and Mohammed Irfan will do well if he can put the ball in the right areas," Misbah-ul-Haq, the Pakistan captain, said after arriving in Johannesburg.

The closest Junaid has got to South Africa is its neighbour, Zimbabwe, where he made his debut in September 2011. He played second fiddle to Aizaz Cheema in that match but has since overtaken Cheema with three five-wicket hauls from eight matches. Being a left-armer he may have half an eye on Graeme Smith with the South Africa captain having been susceptible to many southpaws over the years.

At 7' 1", Irfan had caught the eye of the South African media well before Pakistan's arrival in the country. Knowing the kind of bounce Morne Morkel can extract from surfaces, the hype around what someone eight inches taller may be able to do has grown.

So has the expectation over how South Africa's batsmen will deal with Saeed Ajmal. They have seen him once before, in a Test in 2010 in Dubai when he took three wickets but he has since developed into the magician that ran circles around the then No.1 ranked England. Facing Ajmal will be South Africa's first significant test against spin since becoming the No. 1 team.

Misbah suspects that Ajmal will also enjoy what South Africa has to offer. "Saeed Ajmal is the world's top spinner and in these conditions you get turn and bounce especially on the fourth and fifth days," he said.

While the bowlers are looking forward to assistance, the batsmen are readying themselves for a much sterner examination. South Africa is regarded as one of the toughest places to score runs, especially for the top-order. Of Pakistan's line-up, Taufeeq Umar, Misbah, Younis Khan and Mohammed Hafeez have all batted in South Africa before but the younger players such as Asad Shafiq, Azhar Ali and Nasir Jamshed will have their first taste of these conditions.

The pace of the pitches will take some getting used to. Shafiq has played in New Zealand, West Indies and the subcontinent while Jamshed, who starred in the one-dayers against India, has yet to make his Test debut. With limited touring opportunities because of their schedule, Misbah conceded that preparations have not been ideal although they have made the best of what they have.

"We have to bat well. Whenever we go abroad, we try to practice against bounce and pace. We use different tactics for that and we make sure we get ready before the Test matches," he said. "It's really difficult when you are not playing a format on a regular basis. You really have to work hard. But that's how it is. We are not playing more Test matches. But we have to adjust because we are professionals."

Dav Whatmore, Pakistan's coach, suggested batting could be rewarding for those who employ some patience. "It can be difficult, because of the general consistency of the slightly higher bounce and the pace might be more than normal," he said. "But if you get over that they're pretty good batting conditions as well, a bit like Australia. Our young guys who get through that will be in for good times."

Pakistan will play a three-day warm-up match against a fairly strong South African Invitation XI in East London where the surface is traditionally sluggish. That could be South Africa's way of softening the batsman up especially as historically the hosts have prepared seamer-friendly pitches against subcontinent sides and tried to scare their batsmen out. They may be wary of trying the same thing this time because Pakistan have a good attack of their own.

While pre-series talk will rage about how competitive a less "unpredictable," as Smith called them, Pakistan will be against South Africa, there is also an undercurrent of a campaign running through the visitors' camp. It is both a drive to show off their consistency and resolve and to talk openly about promoting the return of cricket to their home.

"Every stadium was full at the T20 tournament in Pakistan. There were no concerns and everyone enjoyed the game," Misbah said. "Ten of the players in the current Test side played in the final and there were no issues. Pakistan is such a big cricketing nation and the world really has to think about bringing cricket back there. Stadiums are full and nothing is happening."

The former ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat, who is a South African, has been doing some consultative work for the PCB on the matter as well.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Harmony111 on (January 24, 2013, 22:27 GMT)

@Solid_Snake: It is a fact known world over that when Ind play to its potential they thrash Pak black and blue. Not for nothing is Ind World Champion And World #1 in ODIs. You won a mere 2 matches and start dancing about it - good for you. It is clear to anyone that Ind were not performing as per their abilities for a while due to an overkill of cricket and too much shifting between diff formats. Once they got its hang they were back to their top self and it took them no time to become World #1, mind you.

If I was a Pak fan I would be more worried about how my batting did in the short series. But for Jamshed Pak could have easily lot the series, and we all know Jamshed is not the most talented player in the world and will soon get exposed by Steyn & co in SA. What will Pak do then?

I really really think that we might see for the first time ever a test team being all out for a single digit score. We saw Aus 21/9 & NZ 45/10. Guess Pak will beat both these easily.... :-p

Poor Junaid.

Posted by Jordanious77 on (January 24, 2013, 20:32 GMT)

I think the Pakistan tour of South Africa will end somewhat similar to the NZ tour. Destroyed in the tests because of a weak batting line-up and fighting wins in the t20 and ODI's.

Pakistan and NZ seem to be similar teams, not in the way they play as such, but in the way the cricket is run. Bowling isn't shown up as much by being inconsistent, but it shows in the batting strength to no end. South Africa have a way of showing how inconsistent you really are

Posted by Harmony111 on (January 24, 2013, 20:02 GMT)

The Pakistani fans as usual misunderstand the point and then make funny comments one after the other.

No one from Ind is claiming that Bhuvnesh Kumar is a Great Bowler or World's Best bowler or will go on to make grt records in the future.

It is the Pak fans who are saying such things for Junaid Khan. That man did well in a tiny series vs tired batsmen and there you start on him being another great Pak bowler. Thus I got to ask what happened to your great bowlers of the past? Where are Wahab Riaz, Mohd Sami, Rana Naved & Sohail Tanvir? You ppl had said the same thing for these bowlers too - what have they done since then?

Ind fans don't go gaga over our fresh players on the basis of 2-3 matches. We've seen how Irfan went down after grt promise initially. Funny that Pak fans say that Ind fans are making tall claims about Bhuvnesh Kumar when in fact we've made none.

And I am waiting to see Pak's score vs Steyn/Morkel/Philander in Tests when they were 12/3 vs a debutant in T20. Lol.

Posted by Solid_Snake on (January 24, 2013, 19:18 GMT)

@Harmony->& there are many ways to put the series result..The main thing is that team India was about to get whitewashed.They merely escaped it.But no Indian fans just wont accept this humiliation.& all they came up with anther angle ie Pak happened to win just 1 more game than India'..Lol this joke made my day..

PS->The fielding of Team India in final ODI,It is telling some other story.I dont think there was any sign of such excuses..We were tired.IS this the best excuse you came up with.What's the job of a player?He is there in the team to play.It's not like you play cricket everyday. Off course there is a gap.If players starts to lose & then give such excuses, then i guess they are not players at all..Team India plays halfheartedly against Pak only.They were so tired to play against Pakistan.But suddenly they drank some Energy Drinks & went on head to head against England & started winning again.Excuse Busted :P

Posted by Has3 on (January 24, 2013, 18:19 GMT)

I can see 2-1 in favor of Pakistan...

Posted by salarkharoti on (January 24, 2013, 17:53 GMT)

I don,t think that PAK will win one of the matches because SA has superb batting and bowling line up and also their fielding is very strong, but PAK only depends on bowling , which won't be enough to defeat world's number 1 test cricketers. PAK will not be able to score over 200.

Posted by mazii on (January 24, 2013, 14:46 GMT)

solid_snake... Bro let Harmony111 lives in the delusion that B.kumar with the AVG pace of 127 km/h will become his new star. The reality is that Muhammed sami and Rana naveed are much better bowler than over rated Indian bowlers. Had Muhammed sami played for India, I'm sure India would not even drop him from Indian side. Harmony111 only remembers B. kumar's wicket of Hafeez but oblivious of the fact that what Junaid did to Over rated Indian batsmen. I think he forgot how Junaid bowled Indian first three batsmen in the first ODI. They are happy to beat England's b side and claim to be number 1 side.

Posted by Solid_Snake on (January 24, 2013, 13:20 GMT)

@Harmony111->Lol Pakistan team is famous for making a no good new bowler into a hero.Pick up any match & you will know.All thanks to the batting of ours.What did that Hero of yours B.Kumar did against England?..If he is so good in moving the ball,what happened to him suddenly?Similarly we made other heroes as well like him which are no where to be seen in the Cricketing world.Irfan Pathan..Where is he.Same fate is waiting for this B.Kumar.You like to mention 12/3 of a T20 match.But you dont wanna mention a World Champ 29/5 in their own turf & on top of that against a Rookie Junaid who joined the team after a long time.Give credit to Misbah who dropped the catch or else World Champ would have been badly thrashed.Well they got thrashed anyways despite of that drop catch.You fans can keep on dreaming about that spell of B.Kumar.If he was so good in toying then what good is he if India still lost the series & merely escaped whitewash :P

Posted by Sports4Youth on (January 24, 2013, 9:19 GMT)

Poor Sarfraz, finally when he got his opportunity in the Test matches, he is faced with one the best bowling sides in very hostile conditions. The conditions in SA are going to favor pace bowling and Styen, Morkel & Philander are going to be at their menancing best.

But having said that I expect Sarfraz to do reasonably well, especially the assurance of getting to play three tests in a row will help him mentally. He has a batting average of 42 in first class matches, that is as good as a specialist batsman. He has the best batting average among all wicket keepers in Pakistan.

.

Posted by Sports4Youth on (January 24, 2013, 9:03 GMT)

In the first test I expect the follwoing eleven to play.

1) Hafeez, 2) Jamshed, 3) A.Ali, 4) Y.Khan, 5) Misbah, 6) A.Shafiq, 7) Sarfraz, 8) U.Gul, 9) S.Ajmal, 10) Junaid, 11) M.Irfan

.

Posted by mazii on (January 24, 2013, 7:50 GMT)

Harmony111... B.kumar was up against the brittle batting line up and Junaid khan was up against the world's batting line up. Isn't it th case.

Posted by Crick_Expert on (January 24, 2013, 2:24 GMT)

Pakistan team should be as 1-Nasir Jamshed, 2-Mohd Hafeez, 3-Taufeeq Umar, 4-Azhar Ali, 5-Younis Khan, 6-Misbha Naizi, 7-Sarfaraz Ahmed, 8--Umar Gul, 9-Saeed Ajmal, 10-Junaid Khan, 11-Mohd Irfan

Posted by   on (January 23, 2013, 22:05 GMT)

Harmony11.its a big thing to beat india in there home and they trashed them in both games. ovratd batting line up evn in ded pitches against a good bowling attack india cnt play.7 test maches lost in row.while pakistan was whitewashing the same teams .pakistan has won much more matches away frome home .india cannot win away.talking if southafrica both teams are equally balancd 2best teams in da wrld against each other.get your stats rite bfore commenting on other team .cause ur team will nevr beat pakistan

Posted by Always_pakistan on (January 23, 2013, 21:39 GMT)

@Harmony111 we will see what wil happen in south africa, you worry about your own team. And for pakistan goodluck vs south africa play without fear we will always be suporting you. Cricinfo please publish this time

Posted by ShanO111 on (January 23, 2013, 21:17 GMT)

@Aina: Hafeez is the one known as Professor not Misbah.......;)

@Solid_Snake: Abdur Rehman will come in handy at Centurion as that will be the venue where there will be assistance for spinners. As far as Ajmal is concerned, he is the Magician and can demolish any side on any surface. Get Ready Saffas, you will get a good series coming your way...........:)

Posted by ReverseSwingMaster on (January 23, 2013, 20:40 GMT)

@Harmony111: Your great B Kumar will be another Parveen kumar, come and gone. Your great might batting so called by Indians "GODS" was exposed by young JUNAID. We win convincingly, You guys just win 2 games by just close margin.

Your comments are always against PAKISTAN. Your words "tired INDIA" what a joke, 8-0 thrashing, humiliation against PAK in ODI and ENG in test, still tired hahahahaha

Posted by Harmony111 on (January 23, 2013, 19:52 GMT)

@Solid_Snake: That's all you got and it is funny + boring to see all Pak fans who just keep stretching the tiniest of things they get against India. Tired India played Pak halfheartedly after playing a 4 test series vs Eng and the world knows that this short series was a hurriedly planned series. In such a series Pak happened to win just 1 more game than India and off they go that look we beat India we beat India. Desperate to somehow have something to show for.

Junaid Khan was at least not a debutant. Look what Bhuvnesh Kumar did to you in his 1st ever series. They way he toyed with your Hafeez with his 1st ever ball in ODIs or the way he clean bowled your Younis Khan was ample proof of his class and the typical Pakistani ineptitude vs the moving ball.

Imagine !!! In a T20 match, vs a complete rookie Pak were 12/3. Imagine what Steyn, Morkel & Philander could do in a Test ...

What's Pak's lowest Test score? I get a feeling we might see it being lowered in this series --- TWICE.

Posted by haq33 on (January 23, 2013, 18:22 GMT)

Solid snake is right. Pak batsmen need to stand tall and strike the ball hard on bouncy pitches, following through firmly but keeping the ball on the ground. Dead bat defensive strokes risk an edge off almost every delivery unless U meet the ball dead centre in the bat. See how Amla plays here, he impacts the ball rather than lets it hit his bat. Miandad used to play the same way in England. Also, as many have said, Ajmal's doosra with bounce will be lethal, potentially too good to induce edges.

Posted by khurramsch on (January 23, 2013, 18:08 GMT)

yes bowling i would say is equal on both sides. pakistan has a quality spinner as well. but it all comes to batting. Pak batting has always been issue. But i think it will not be as easy for SA as they did with NZ.

Posted by Solid_Snake on (January 23, 2013, 16:28 GMT)

Pakistan team lacks an Allrounder who could bowl as well..In past we had Allrounders like Razzaq,Azhar Mehmood.Now we got nothing in our tail.Once our wicket keeper comes out to bat,after that it's a matter of time that all 4 players of the tail are back into the pavilion.& our wicket keeper cannot even bat properly.So batting line up is a concern

Posted by Solid_Snake on (January 23, 2013, 16:23 GMT)

@getsetgopk->What do you think..Pakistan would go with Ajmal only as a Spinner? I think we should go with Ajmal & 3 Pacers..Ajmal & Hafeez are more than enough. But most likely team would follow the tried & tested formula ie duo of Ajmal & Rehman..Sigh!!!

Posted by getsetgopk on (January 23, 2013, 14:59 GMT)

Agree with the previous commenters, Ajmal IMO will have his say, he is not the spinner he used to be a couple of years ago. He's a different spinner, not great turner of the cricket ball but his variations in pace and the doosra are his main weapons. Wickets wont be turning much but I beleive he will ask some hard questions and will be interesting to see how things pan out.

Posted by khan0342 on (January 23, 2013, 14:36 GMT)

South Africans are not much different than others in the way cricket is played these days and they will come up with a green track in that practice match,see how Pakistani batsmen and bowlers perform and once they see our bowling on that green track they will surely go for safety first approach in the first test and come up with a flat track. Australia did that too prepared flat tracks for Clarke and once Clarke's battery finished they had lost the series. First test is going to be a draw here too. Can't say about the remaining. May be 1-1 draw. Believe me or not South Africans are more than just afraid of this Pak side.

Posted by   on (January 23, 2013, 13:32 GMT)

@ Solid_Snake: We have not seen Misbah's version of safety-first when playing in such conditions, so we should give him the benefit of the doubt. He is an intelligent man and Professor, no matter how bad he performs as a player, is called Professor for good reasons. Secondly, it was written in an English newspaper last January that Ajmal's wicket-to-wicket style is actually MORE effective on wickets that are not raging turners. UAE wickets are nothing like South African wickets but they are hardly Galle or Kotla.

Posted by Solid_Snake on (January 23, 2013, 12:48 GMT)

getsetgopk->But that technique work if you are playing in Pak,India or SL..You cannot go into all defensive on such fast pitches.Even if we defend,still SA bowlers would work their way into & get us one by one..Over attacking is not good.But over defensive would be a suicide for us here..I have faith in our batsmen.Azhar,Misbah,Younis & Shafiq are enough to handle the pressure.I am waiting for the tour match.It'll show us our players performance.. & people who are saying that Spinners are useless on such bouncy tracks.They are wrong.Last time it was Danish Kaneria who was so successful.I hope this time Ajmal use that bounce to his advantage

Posted by getsetgopk on (January 23, 2013, 9:04 GMT)

Solid_Snake: The defending approach from Misbah has worked in 9 out of 10 games and there is no need to abandon that. Over attacking will be good but if that doesn't work we'll have no chance what so ever. SA can soak up pressure better than anyone in recent times as they shown in Auss. Persistence and discipline is what we need here more than ever. In batting if you over attack and loose early quick wickets its quite possible the side role up for less than 100, with a safety first approach a total of 200 to 250 will be guaranteed, thats the best chance we can give ourselves.

Posted by Sports4Youth on (January 23, 2013, 7:44 GMT)

Now adays i have been watching that the favorite team has been loosing the matches consistently. I have been observing this especially in the last two year. So i you want to bet your money on cricket matches then it might be more profitable to bet your money on the underdog team.

Here in the upcoming series the impression that we are getting is that Pakistan is in great form and upcomming While SA is loosing to NZ in home coniditions. But acording to the trend that i am talking about SA will win the series.

.

Posted by SaadRocx on (January 23, 2013, 6:52 GMT)

I hope New Zealand white wash them in ODI'S ..LOL..that'll boast the confidence of Pak team..

Posted by Solid_Snake on (January 23, 2013, 6:40 GMT)

We just need to wait & see how Pak team performs in the upcoming tour match.That'll give some idea :)

Posted by Solid_Snake on (January 23, 2013, 6:36 GMT)

We just need to wait & see how Pak team performs in the upcoming tour match.That'll give some idea :)

Posted by Solid_Snake on (January 23, 2013, 6:19 GMT)

@Maria->So clever of SA to start the series with a test match in Johannesburg..A Perfect way to crush any team..Be it Australia or England.Pakistan batting is not that great as the Aussies & Eng but still we got courage & will to fight.We wont go down that easily that i know in my heart.It's just that we need to attack from all ends.The defending approach of Misbah in batting wont work here. i still remember that Hobart test in which Pakistan attacked & got past 300 runs against Aussies.Salman Butt scored a century.Such an approach is needed here.Defense wont work.I hope our Coach plan something

Posted by Solid_Snake on (January 23, 2013, 6:08 GMT)

@Harmony111->1/5 Lol...Remember 29/5 recently???Best batting line up in their home ground facing a Rookie Junaid Khan???Misbah dropped Dhoni's easy catch or else the total would have been less than 100 lol..Thanks to the joint effort of Dhoni & Misbha :P

Posted by balajik1968 on (January 23, 2013, 0:51 GMT)

This will be an interesting series. I would rate the South Africans as favourites. We do not know how Pakistan will face up to the relentless pressure from the South African bowling. Pakistan has a good spin attack, but we need to see how the pace attack will hold up, because it is relatively short on experience and Umar Gul has become a limited overs specialist. Don't forget that South Africa was under severe pressure from Australia for 2 Tests in the recent tour. They soaked it up and came out trumps in the third. So there is the ability to handle pressure. I would not read too much into the ODI defeat to New Zealand.

Posted by CrickFans007 on (January 22, 2013, 23:15 GMT)

On Paper Pakistan batting is also good IF they perform, I have '0' expectation from Yonuis Khan, Check the record he never play in tough situation or whenever team need him he does not perform Specially in ODI. Why we do not give chance to new player on 3 and 4 position like Asad Sahfiq,Give chance to Haris Sohail at least in one match. Best 1-Hafiz-2-Azhar Ali-3-Nazeer-4-Asad Shafiq-5-Haris Sohail-6-Misbah-7-Sarfaraz-8-Gull-9-Ajmal-10-Junaid-11- Irfan

Posted by   on (January 22, 2013, 23:09 GMT)

Go green Go....choke them: Proteas. whiteWash whiteWash whiteWash

Posted by Sports4Youth on (January 22, 2013, 20:54 GMT)

After watching the South Africans loose the 2nd match to the Kiwi's, I dont know what predictions are suited for the SA-Pak series. NZ have already won the 3 match ODI series. Though SA has been resting atleast one fast bowler at a time. in the 2nd match they have rested Amla & Styen.

But having said that they have lost 2 matches on the trot to NZ and that too in home conditions. Somehow I am loosing faith in the way now adays the matches go.

Posted by ShanO111 on (January 22, 2013, 19:02 GMT)

Having said all this, i think Pakistan did get a good balanced side but (and that's a BIG BUT) it will be monumental task to beat the mighty Saffas at their home. To beat South Africans with the likes of legendary Kallis (the best cricketer around now), the courageous Smith, the Rock Amla, the Classy DeVilliers, the Faffed Du Plessis, the Best Steyn, the tall Morkel, the new sensation Philander will be quite a task when they are riding high on the back of their victories in England, Australia and at their home. Pakistan is indeed in for quite a hard challenge but i am sure that they will not go down without a fight. South Africa will need to turn their A game if they want to win otherwise this energetic Pakistan side will give them quite a lesson. In the end, the series will be a hard fought encounter and in the end Cricketing fans will cherish the game, hope so...................

Posted by   on (January 22, 2013, 19:01 GMT)

Tough as this tour is, a whitewash of Pakistan doesn't seem to be the writing on the wall. South Africans have naturally kept Centurion to the last, and are opening the series with a green top at Johannesburg; the perfect way to crush Pakistan. Having said that, Misbah's much criticized safety first approach means that at the very worst, there could a be a draw at Centurion and hence 2-0. Nonetheless, I will pray for what currently seems to most people here like a miracle. If we surpass expectations, most probably Misbah and Azhar will have had big roles to play. Pakistan may never cross 300 and yet win. Inexperience is a disadvantage for batsmen and not for bowlers, and of late teams score at most 250 odd on Day 1 against Pakistan. Our bowlers may not be Steyn, Morkel and Philander, but if Pakistani batsmen can score 300 odd, we COULD spring a surprise. We are reasonably good at defending tiny totals.

Posted by SirViv1973 on (January 22, 2013, 19:00 GMT)

@UK chap, fair comment from you I do think this is a decent looking Pak team who will at times in this series test SAF. I just think the conditions are against them & I think judging from a number of comments on here maybe a little bit too much is being expected of what is largley a rookie seam attack. Had the series been in UAE I would have fancied Pak to at least draw maybe even win the series but you have to fancy the saffers to win this one.

Posted by TaylorSwift on (January 22, 2013, 18:31 GMT)

On paper, SA should win this series 3-0 or 2-0. They are superior in all three departments (especially batting and fielding). However, this game is not played on paper. Under Misbah, this Pakistani side has shown the ability to fight, albeit in familiar conditions. For me, the fate of the series lies with Saeed Ajmal. While the pacers might enjoy the South African conditions, they won't measure up to the Proteas trio. But Saeed Ajmal has the ability to single-handedly win a game for his country. I expect one such magical performance from him in SA. And this time around he'll have better support from his pacers. My prediction: a 1-1 tie. I think Misbah and company are fairly comfortable playing the role of the underdog. Can't wait for the series to begin!

Posted by Harmony111 on (January 22, 2013, 18:20 GMT)

@KiwiRocker: Duh, as usual you will mention India in your comments no matter what the context. How boring.

Btw, are you saying that Pak batsmen do better in places like Eng/Aus/NZ/SA than Ind batsmen? Once again comparison with India huh?

Posted by ShanO111 on (January 22, 2013, 18:16 GMT)

As for bench strength Pakistan had likes of Nasir Jamshed, Haris Sohail and in bowling department we have Abdur Rehman and Ehsan Adil. Umer Gul needs to stay fit. Ehsan Adil must replace The Giant in 2nd Test if needed. Abdur Rehman will come to the squad for the 3rd Test and that will really be a Test of South Africa to face the variation of bowling line up. I dont agree with the people saying that Pakistan will fall behind in fielding department. Pakistan has got the specialist Wicket Keeper, with Younis and Misbah, slip cordon has fine hands. Hafeez, Azhar are good anywhere, Taufeeq,Gul, Asad, Junaid and Ajmal are also not below par. The only weak links are Irfan and Nasir Jamshed IMO but they are also mproving, so it will be a great performance by Pakistan i think.

Posted by Zahidsaltin on (January 22, 2013, 18:14 GMT)

considering the batting style, I think Nasir jamshed could be the batsman who will score bulk of the runs for Pakistan. But thats only if he is selected in the 11.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (January 22, 2013, 18:14 GMT)

In the bowling department, Pakistan are just as good as SA if not better. In fact, I would put one up for Pakistani bowling because they have world class Saeed Ajmal. SA don't have a quality spinner. In the argument that SA pitches will not favour spin, I still feel the bounce of those wickets can help Ajmal pick up some wickets come days 4 and 5. However, I think it's the batting department where Pakistan will LOSE the series. Their batting is insipid, average and inexperienced. I honestly cannot see Pakistan score more than 300 in any of the tests. If that happens, SA will easily win the series. So the key for the Pakistanis is to score between 350-400. Then they have the bowling to trouble SA. Otherwise, this will quickly become a miserable outing for the Pakistani team and their fans.

Posted by oayaz01 on (January 22, 2013, 18:04 GMT)

@SherjilIslam - The number of catches will depend who Pak plays in final 11. Jamshed and Irfan have fitness issues and they are very ordinary fielders so if they play, number could go beyong 5. Good thing is that Kamran Akmal is not in the line up else one or two stumps/run outs would also have been added to catches.

Posted by oayaz01 on (January 22, 2013, 17:57 GMT)

@Crazy_Pk - SAF maybe 6 down on day 1 with 250 on board but trust me if Pak bat first, they will be bowled out for under 200. They haven't played any test match since July and with one tour game, batting will be exposed. Having said that the last time they went into a test match abroad after a gap of 6 months was in Brisbane in 99 where Steve Waugh out them in bcz he thought lack of test cricket will get ausi bowlers result but surprisingly Pak ended up scoring 367 in first innings but still losing the test by 10 wkts.

My prediction is based on Misbah style of captaincy who if wins the toss will put SAF in and they will score runs and we'll drop catches (Irfan and Jamshed are below average fielders). If Smith wins the toss, he will still bat as he is an attacking skipper so I'll stick with 290 for 3 or maybe 4.

Posted by ShanO111 on (January 22, 2013, 17:44 GMT)

Firstly, i would tell you all that this will gonna be a cracker of a series. To everyone saying that Pakistan batting will crumble down in front of the likes of Steyn, Philander & Morkel, i would remind you the last series between the two sides when Pakistan fresh and solid batting line up grind down the Saffas and managed to draw in the heat of UAE and fresh from the Spot Fixing Scandal. Pakistan has now got a well balanced side and good bench strength and full of confidence. Batsmen have got their role and positions in the team. A mixture of youth and experience with the likes of Taufeeq, Hafeez, Azhar, Asad, Younis, Misbah have got good mental strength and know how to save a match. We have finally got a specialized keeper in Sarfraz Ahmed. As far as the bowling is concerned i think that the only weak link is the third seamer. Gul & Junaid are fine but Irfan is not fit enough to long 5 days of grinding cricket. Ajmal is always the best and can turn the game on any wicket. Continued..

Posted by KanAloshFozter on (January 22, 2013, 17:16 GMT)

Despite the formidable Pak bowling attack SA still look like the favorites.But this series will be the acid test der SA's no1 position.Junaid Khan who found swing in flat indian wickets is the man I look forward to watch.Ajmal'll test SA's historical weakness against high quality spin.Pak batting is still a worry.

Posted by ShanO111 on (January 22, 2013, 17:15 GMT)

@Front-Foot-Lunge: You are really incensed by 3-0 drubbing at the hands of Pakistan last year and saying the best and the complete bowling attack 4th/5th ranked clearly indicates your intellect and cricketing knowledge. To talk about the fielding, let me remind you of the ability of English team in the recent years, i do not want to degrade England (one of the most balanced and good team) but your arrogant and baseless comments prompted me to do so. The result will put your mumbling to stop, remember this.

Posted by Desihungama on (January 22, 2013, 17:03 GMT)

Abdul Rehman, Hafeez and Ajmal will run through SA line up. Quicks may not provide the needed support. SA has no clue how to play against quality spin. Ajmal doesn't rely on spin but Doosras. Hafeez keeps it tight and choke. And AR will be a total unknown to them. Azhar Ali needs to open to see off first 15-20 overs. Should this work, we are in for a real test match unlike the one sided series being played all over.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (January 22, 2013, 16:28 GMT)

Everyone knows that Pakistan's fielding has historically been the most inept in International cricket. Their lack of commitment to fitness and athelitic abilty is well known to all cricket watchers. This, coupled with them having the 4th or 5th best bowling attack in the world, doesn't make them look too capable of doing much to compete in this series.

Posted by AamirAbuOzair on (January 22, 2013, 15:56 GMT)

Interesting comments and I am also with the same opinion that Pak Batting is the major issue. Bowling is at par if not better than SA. Ideal would be Pak Bowling and India Batting -- a winning combination. Shakib can come in as All Rounder and we'll have a Sub-Continent team!!!

All the best for the Greens. I would love to see Haris Sohail in our batting line up and Ehsan Adil should also be part of the playing 11. Umar Gul, Faisal (I donot know why we picked him), Asad Shafiq, Taufeeq Umar and Abdur Rahman should be on the bench.

Posted by Harmony111 on (January 22, 2013, 14:56 GMT)

@counterstrike1.6:

When you said 5/1 for a sec I couldn't figure out if you meant wickets or runs. But suppose Pak bat first in Kingsmead or Centurion and it is rainy all around, facing Steyn/ Morkel & Philander, could we really see Pak at 1/5?

I don't actually want that but since 2011 we have seen Aus at 21/9 & NZ 45 a.o. So anything, literally anything's possible.

And even against Ind's rookie bowlers Pak batsmen looked clueless on much slower and less assisting wickets, even in ODIs.

Posted by getsetgopk on (January 22, 2013, 14:51 GMT)

In conditions favoring swing and seam bowling, I hope Junaid and co don't go in too hot as there will be a great danger of them loosing the plot and once the likes of Amla, smith and kallis set in they can really break apart this inexperienced Pak attack. Same goes for SA, Pak may not be the best of the batting lineups but there are some grand grinders in that team that can be compared against the best. Keep it nice and tight, bowl line and length and this discipline will bring in the wickets. The team doing well on the first morning of the series will be well set to take it all. Pak in recent times have done extremely well playing the waiting game and let the opposition make mistakes, here, they'll need this grind more than ever.

Posted by rocket_rocket on (January 22, 2013, 14:47 GMT)

i am an indian ...and i strongly feel that among all the asian teams only pak has the bowling line up that can match up to the quality of SA's pace battery but the major problem for them would be the inconsistency in their batting ...pak really needs to up its batting if they were to face quality SA bowlers.....i really hope pak wins this series and ends SA's domination in test cricke

Posted by TalhaMBBS86 on (January 22, 2013, 14:15 GMT)

There should be Muhammad Yousuf in this series.. he was successful on such kind of pitches before and he will be good there.. please add him in squad

Posted by LahoriLion009 on (January 22, 2013, 14:05 GMT)

Well, First of all thanks to SL, IND fans who are wishing TEAM GREEN for series. Most of the comments say that Pak batting is very weak but i think the other way, Pak batting is not that much weak, they are in different mood as compared to past. Bowling may be issue rather than batting as despite of ajmal and gul, rest are inexperience, irfan can't make heavy impact.

Wishing a series win for pak by any margin.........

Posted by Nigah on (January 22, 2013, 13:58 GMT)

The upcoming series will be challenge for batsmen of both sides, if and only if Pakistani batsmen produce some runs then no doubt Pakistani bowling line up is much more better then the all current test teams, because SA are very professionals while Pakis are much more passionate then SA Umer Gul's betting is one of the example for us. So we are going to see the professionalism vs Passion.

Posted by Solid_Snake on (January 22, 2013, 13:56 GMT)

Where is Tanvir Ahmed??? That guy is completely out of the Scene..Was given chance in 4 test matches only.He proved himself handy on Fast tracks.Helped Pakistan win in NZ.Yet he was ignored in the current series..Strange..

Posted by   on (January 22, 2013, 13:31 GMT)

Pakistani side blunted the Saffa attack in the UAE and which was Misbahs first assignment as test skipper, he did very well to keep the proteas to 0-0. This time around I feel that the concerns around batting are hyped. YK has a 50+ average, Misbah, Azhar, Asad have sound techniques. Bowling is good enough to get 20 Saffa wickets. Its going to be a contest, hold your bets.

Posted by Sports4Youth on (January 22, 2013, 13:31 GMT)

Pakistan's batting has always been a bit iffy. But I feel the present Pakistani batting is stightly better than most of the earlier teams, especially after the introduction of the in-form Nasir Jamshed.

Pakistan's bowling has always been world class. They only thing is that the fieldiers have not been consistent in providing support to the bowlers. The standard of fielding that Pakistan shows will determin the level of success of the pakistani bowlers.

Regarding the Pakistani fielding, Least said is the best. Though in the India series they have shown that if they want to , they can perform well.

.

Posted by Sports4Youth on (January 22, 2013, 13:24 GMT)

We have rankings for Teams in varous formats & we have players rankings in all formats BUT WE DO NOT HAVE RANKINGS FOR TEAM FEILDING OR INDIVIDUAL FIELDERS. If such rankings are to be introduced then in the team fielding rankings Pakistan will be perpetual last. None of the their players will make it into the top 10 fielders (also their batsmen struggle to make it into the top 10).

The problem with Pakistan is that on a given day we do not know which Pakistan team (or fielders) will turn up on a certain day. The team that fielded brilliantly in India or the team that dropped 17 catches in a match in England 2010. Half of those cathces were dropped by Kamran Akmal. Luckily Kamran is not in the present team. That instantly makes the present Pakistani team a better feilders than the 2010 team.

If you are a pecimist then you will be happy that Kamran in not in the present team SO BE HAPPY & hope for the best.

.

Posted by ReverseSwingMaster on (January 22, 2013, 12:38 GMT)

I know I'm the only one here who is saying PAK will win. So you guys save my this comment with date and time. Will meet you on 26 Feb.

Posted by ReverseSwingMaster on (January 22, 2013, 12:33 GMT)

By reading comments 80% of the people are overestimating PAKISTAN, this PAK side is totally a different side you cannot predict future based on past. Just look at our present performances , yeah batting is an issue but not that too much as you guys are thinking.

I'm a Pakistani , no problem in bowling and in test matches fielding matters but not too much as in ODI & T20, also we have good slip fielders in the form of MISBAH and YOUNUS. In batting MISBAH, YOUNUS, AZHAR, SHAFIQ, JAMSHED have better techniques & temperament for TEST cricket. So our batting looks settled and is performing over the past 2 and half years.

To me series would be close and PAK will win I believe.

Posted by msharif911 on (January 22, 2013, 12:26 GMT)

Pakistan are predictable alright. Predictably good. SA will have to be at the top of their game to even get a draw out of this series.

SA are an excellent unit and have provided the Cricket World with some great exciting games (most notably the one dayer against Australia a few years back. They simply do not know when they are beat. That self confidence is worth at least another 2 wickets in itself. But there is an unstoppable Tsunami of Pakistan Green coming your way boys which is just wash over you so beware, we are on our way.

Posted by old_chap on (January 22, 2013, 12:13 GMT)

at the moment,pakistan is the only team capable of beating proteas in a test match though their batting can be woeful at a time...when it comes to bowling both look equal yet proteas are just ahead of pakistan. it will be a alluring contest between steyn,morkel and philander vs junaid,irfan,gul and ajmal. 60% for SA ,40% for PAK....but who knows...

Posted by sunny56dx on (January 22, 2013, 12:00 GMT)

not much of hope for Pakistan to beat SA at there home. batsmen like inzamam yousaf younas saeed anwar are having there averages in 30's. The only hope is that the bowlers make some magic in the first innings and clean them up in under 200 get some lead and finish it off. From Pak only Taufique umar is the one who is having his average in 70 but seams like there will be a tough fight between nasir and him for the opening spot. A level series would be an achievement for Pak. Hope we are going to see some hard fought cricket between these two teams

Posted by birdz_eye on (January 22, 2013, 11:35 GMT)

Well good to see an optimistic Pakistan skipper accepting the stiff challenge ahead. Its so heart warming to see an emerging Pakistan after the dark free fall of 2010, bravo guys. I don't see a white wash from either side but definitely a fascinating series is coming with either 2-1 series win for either side. Being Pakistan supporter I obviously look forward to be it in favor of Pakistan. Pakistan need to prove that unlike other subcontinent sides they can win on hostile pitches while SA need to prove that are not going to chock this time lol.

Posted by QingdaoXI on (January 22, 2013, 10:44 GMT)

Paksitan team after next 2 years, Jamshed, B. Azam, Azhar, Hafeez (Captain), Shafiq, U.Amin, any keeper, E.Adil, Junaid, Amir, H.Raza.

Posted by applethief on (January 22, 2013, 9:38 GMT)

More than just the batting, the depth of the Pakistan squad should be a concern. Not so much in the spin department as there is Rehman in the squad, but a single injury to a batsman or bowler will be problematic for Pakistan. Their 1st string side has just enough to compete against SA, they can't afford an injury though

Posted by Soso_killer on (January 22, 2013, 9:32 GMT)

What is going on here, seriously!!

Posted by 2nd_Slip on (January 22, 2013, 9:32 GMT)

good luck to pakistan hope they can cope and make a contest of this series againts the #1 test and odi team South Africa

Posted by SherjilIslam on (January 22, 2013, 9:08 GMT)

@counterstrike1.6: Your comment made my day dear. " Except a few hard fought fifties by Azhar Ali or Misbah in different innings, say 51 runs in some 180 odd balls" "And Gul will be their Best Bet as he can clear the ground by his blind-hitting"

Can't stop laughing.Seriously hilarious!!!

Posted by SK14 on (January 22, 2013, 8:57 GMT)

@counterstrike1.6

Don't worry about our club-level batsmen, at least their in higher league then your men in blue. Lol forget the 8-0 thrashing, ODI thrashing at the hands of oz and england, your batsmen couldn't even put up decent scores on "rank turners" which you were begging for lol. You should help India by finding bowlers who can bowl faster then matthew wade and batsmen who are not ipl pinch hitters.

Posted by TopOrder_ on (January 22, 2013, 8:54 GMT)

South African team have all departments well covered. Much better in all 3 departments then Pakistan. But still a well planed and well managed (Pressure) team will take the series. I wish 3-0 to PAK, but i think it will be 2-1 to SA. Thanks for positive comments from Sri Lanka, South Africans and Indians.

Posted by LordKratos on (January 22, 2013, 8:54 GMT)

I just hope ( for pakistan's sake) that the 3 nil white wash of England doesnt give them false hope of doing it against a an increasingly talented and hungry to win side like the proteas. With England (as south africa have proved) it was all media hype but with the Proteas its a completely different story altogether. All the best to team Pakistan!

Posted by   on (January 22, 2013, 8:52 GMT)

@ SA Fans, Guys - Your team is way better than ours and that is the reason we are ranked at 4 and you at 1. However, we will try to play to our potential and at least draw the series. A series win for Pakistan will make Misbah a legend and Pakistan, undoubtedly the best side of the world. So let's support some positive cricket from both sides and hope that it turns out to be a nail-biting one. @ Ind Fans, - You need to stop criticizing Pak. Just look at your performance at home and away tests for the past 2 years and compare that to performance of Pakistan. I am sure you will search for some water to jump in to hide your face from us.

Posted by Zak- on (January 22, 2013, 8:26 GMT)

SA's complacency will serve Pakistan very well. SA will go 1-0 up in inside 3 days in the first test and then completely go to sleep, ending up scraping to a draw in the final test after having surprisingly (only to the Protea team, though) lost the 2nd test quite comfortably.

Posted by Grantieboi on (January 22, 2013, 8:20 GMT)

@Bilal_Choudry who has Pakistan played in those games?

Then look at the SA games when they have toured Eng and Aus and have yet to lose.

Those people who think Pakistan will win a test are dilusional.. I don't see any batsman standing up to SA bowling attack, especially on pitches favouring them!

Also don't see SA's batting letting them down very solid and established lineup with 3 batsmen in top 10 and Smith and Petersen in top 20. Then I'm not even talking about Faf..

Good luck Pakistan

Posted by Bilal_Choudry on (January 22, 2013, 7:46 GMT)

last series pak played in SA was 2007 and it was a close one .. and the difference between the two sides was Kallis ... this time I think SA is in for a surprise this team under Misbah loves a grind ... Smith's unpredictable label is no longer valid now .. look at Misbah's test captaincy record .. 9 wins 1 loss ... is that unpredictable ?

Posted by arvind.Kejriwal.AAP_A_Better_INDIA_ on (January 22, 2013, 7:27 GMT)

There is no denying that Pakistan bowling attack looks really effective when pitches assist bowlers. So on green tops of SA where there's every help for bowlers, I expect Pak bowlers to surprise SA batsmen in patches. But as I said earlier, for even that to happen Pak school-level fielders will have to take catches.

But the main concern for Pak has always been their club-level batting. And this time either, it won't be different. Except a few hard fought fifties by Azhar Ali or Misbah in different innings, say 51 runs in some 180 odd balls, I don't have much expectations from Pak batsmen.

Even against ordinary medium-pacers of Ind, B. Kumar and Shami, Pak batsmen looked clueless when ball was swinging both ways. So this is SA where Steyn, Morkel, Philander and Kallis will be continuously moving the ball both ways that too with good speed. Gosh ! Pak score will look like say 5/1 to 30/3 to 115-150 all-out. And Gul will be their Best Bet as he can clear the ground by his blind-hitting.

Posted by javed.agrawala on (January 22, 2013, 7:17 GMT)

SA is the better side! This from an ardent Pakistani fan. Our batsmen are hugely vulnerable against the moving ball. Bowling is more than adequate and Saeed Ajmal should nullify the edge, despite a very good Pakistani fast bowling trio, that SA have in pace. SA batsmen would struggle against their own attack actually but thats another story!

What Pakistan can do is to shift their best player of fast bowling i.e. Azhar Ali to open. Actually leaving out the unknown Nasir Jamshed only Asad Shafiq, now that Younus is past his best, has the ability to play the new ball well. All others are a hit and miss affair He may well fail too a couple of times but has the technique for a longer grind. Hafeez should bat at 3. He is appropriately aggressive at #3 and the ball will move lesser with a dour start at one down. Its a five day affair and the team's effort has to be held uppermost in mind. Not losing more than one wicket to the brand new ball is imperative to put some runs on the board.

Posted by Sports4Youth on (January 22, 2013, 7:12 GMT)

Everybody is talking about Pakistan's Bowling streangth and batting weekness. Nobody is talking about Pakistan's fragile and unpredictable fielding.

In the India series they had shown very good fielding and came out with unexpected results. I say this because before the series everyone had said that India would be the favorites but the end result was defferent because the fielders gave excellent support to the Bowlers who are actually best in the world.

Those who are criticising Pakistan's bowling and calling them over-rated bowlers, please dont forget that bowers will require support from the fielders (except in casees of bowled & lbw). Now traditionally, Pakistan's fielding has been one of the shoddiest in the world and even the higher authorities have hardly shown any inclination towards improving them or dealing with the problem strictly.

BOTTOM LINE : If Pakistan field well then definately the bowlers will be succesful, also the present batting line-up is better.

.

Posted by I.Aziz on (January 22, 2013, 7:00 GMT)

Is SA pace attack better than England's in England I don't think so and in 2010 summer series in England the Pakistan cricket team avg. was 129 odd with two 70's and an 80 only once Pakistan crossed 300 mark and won that match and that was without Y.Khan, Misbah, Hafeez, Taufiq, Jamshed and Asad Shafiq totally new and stable batting lineup compared to the one that toured England in 2010 expected increase on that avg. is about 100 so avg. Pakistan score will be around 225 and fielding i will put at least 25 % batter (will never be as bad as in Australia and England) and bowling almost same quality as was in 2010. Captaincy and self belief is on the high in Pakistan test team.. my prediction series Draw at 1-1,, if u challenge well back it with arguments.

Posted by Crazy_Pk on (January 22, 2013, 6:58 GMT)

Guys dont worry, no one expecting too in uae against pak - eng series in 2012 that result would come 3-0 in favor of Pak. Now for this series no one giving any marks to Pak and history tells us that Pak do perform well when there is no expectation & InshaAllah result will be good in favor Pak

Posted by IndiaChampspakchumps on (January 22, 2013, 6:57 GMT)

Pakistan is a poor team, will lose 0-3 to South Africa. SA are way too good for teams like pakistan. In contrast, India almost won the series the last time they were there. It required a phenomenal effort from Kallis to save the Cape Town test.

Posted by Crazy_Pk on (January 22, 2013, 6:50 GMT)

@oayaz01 : My prediction says 1.If Pak bats first : 1st day 220-235 / 7 2.If SA bats first : 265-280 / 6

Posted by Reid84 on (January 22, 2013, 6:47 GMT)

I am sure SA will whack Pak. The Pak bowlers except Ajmal are overrated and SA will be alert against him. Rest all are ordinary like the SL, Bang or Ind bowlers. SA batting line up is superiorp Amla, Kallis,Greame, Devilliers, Peterson all are in good form. And SA's bowlers are the best in the world - miles apart from the next best. Go SAF go..

Posted by Shamsi1982 on (January 22, 2013, 6:45 GMT)

Can any one tell me when last time Pakistan batting win the match Outside subcontinent .

Posted by SaadRocx on (January 22, 2013, 6:42 GMT)

even the Tail of SA bats well and stands on the crease more than the top order of Pak..that sums the things up i guess..:(

Posted by Naseer on (January 22, 2013, 6:23 GMT)

Traditionally Pakistan has been very poor in South Africa, their batsmen have below par record in African conditions, if Pakistan wins a match, it would be outstanding performance of their bowlers supported by small contributions from their batsmen. But Africa looks hot favorite for winning clean sweep series, but if Pakistan does well it would be a surprise and upset.

Posted by siddiqi on (January 22, 2013, 6:11 GMT)

All the best Misbah and team. We know it is tough to play SA in SA but we want you to fight and try your best. Inshallah Pakistan will perform well against best team in the world..

Posted by SherjilIslam on (January 22, 2013, 6:07 GMT)

@oayaz01: Funny but i guess your predictions are pretty close.I only bet the no of catches dropped may get reduced to three.I am absolutely sure of Smith falling to Junaid LBW.

Posted by SherjilIslam on (January 22, 2013, 5:52 GMT)

@KiwiRocker: I don't know what you are trying to prove here with various illogical comparisons.And your same old habit of dragging India from nowhere.The fact of the matter is SA's batting is much better than Pak and as far as bowling is concerned, SA is 60 - 40 ahead because the experience posses by the pace trio of Styne, Morkel and Philander. So for me, Pak can win a session or two, but to win a test match you need to perform well in all 4 innings.2-1 or 2-0 in favor of SA.

Posted by Andre117 on (January 22, 2013, 5:48 GMT)

In recent times we have been the best travelling team but other than NZ we have struggled to win series at home. However, a team that is largely inexperienced in our conditions might put us 60-40 ahead to win the series. I predict a sub 150 score for Pakistan in the first test, but better later on as they adjust. I'm definitely looking forward to it :).

Posted by   on (January 22, 2013, 4:52 GMT)

Pakistan bowling is if not better than SA than it is not worse than them also.Ajmal factor always matter at any surface.Pakistan Batting is little bit concerning but in test it is a stable batting line up and with the inclusion of Jamshed its now almost leveling SA.So in my regard its 50:50.

Posted by Samar_Singh on (January 22, 2013, 4:45 GMT)

Yes no doubt that Pak bowling can test the SA , but to win matches you also need to score runs, that could be the worry for Pak given the inform SA pace attack. SA have a big upper hand. Pak batting is big concern.

Posted by PadMarley on (January 22, 2013, 4:39 GMT)

Herath went through SA side in South Africa.... Ajmal should not find it difficult.

Posted by flavoidastic on (January 22, 2013, 4:37 GMT)

Clash of the Titans.. However, SA will have the home advantage.. Waiting to see some classy pace bowling from both sides!!

Posted by SkylaDark on (January 22, 2013, 4:31 GMT)

I'd love to see Hashim and Ajmal play against each other. One of the world's best batsmen and one of the world's best bowlers...it'll make for a lovely watch.

Posted by anver777 on (January 22, 2013, 4:27 GMT)

This series gonna be a "Battle of Quicks" with both sides packed with some genuine pace bowlers.... Beware!!! batsmen bowlers will come hard at you in bowler friendly SA conditions.....

Posted by hotcric01 on (January 22, 2013, 4:25 GMT)

South africa havn't played exceptionally well at home in recent years.They have clean swept only a weaker New zealand side and have lost to weaker teames than them likes of WI,IND,SL,AUS and have drawn a series against ENG.This series may be a 2-1 win for SA.SA are ahead in both batting and bowling departments.Their batsmen are far superior in these conditions than PAK.Especially batsmen likes of Hafees,Younis and jamshed may be rabbits against pace and bounce.Gul,Junaid and irfan cannot match steyn,morkel and philander,Gul is not a match winner.Junaid and Irfan is unproven.Ajmal won't have much support from pitches.Anyway I am looking forward to PAK will give a good fight and beat SA in their home soil.

Posted by AllahKeBande on (January 22, 2013, 4:22 GMT)

Actually its not SA but Pakistani batsmen who are going to be the challenge for PAK bowlers :D

Posted by KiwiRocker- on (January 22, 2013, 4:05 GMT)

There has been some fairly one sided series in recent past. SL surrendered against Australia quite easily and India touted as favourites were easily beaten by England at home. However, SA and Pakistan series offers a real spice. The strength of both teams is actually their bowling and bowlers win you the matches. One should note that Pakistan is different from two other subcontinents teams (SL and India) as Pakistani batsmen do enjoy bit of pace and bounce on wickets and play pace really well due to Pak having numerous express fast bowlers in domestic ( Unlike india), but it is swing and seam that gets to them.Pakistan has won two test matches in SA out of nine which is same as India ( although India played 15 and lost more too) and twice more wins than Sri Lanka.Pakistan has a shaky batting but Azhar Ali and Asaq Shafiq are bit 'unlike' Pakistani batsmen & got solid technique. They won series against Poms.Younis has a test average of 50+ in fouth inning of test ...Continued!

Posted by cricraz on (January 22, 2013, 3:35 GMT)

Ajmal will be a nonfactor because the test will not last till the 4th and 5th day. Pakistan batsman will be bowled out twice in the first 3 days but their bowlers will continue to impress. I expect the pakistani batsman to fare as well as NZ batsman and hence deprive their paceman and spinner of any advantage. I doubt if they will ever cross 300 in any innings.

Posted by   on (January 22, 2013, 3:31 GMT)

This will be an exciting series. Hoping much and much from Misbah and Younis

Posted by aa61761 on (January 22, 2013, 2:55 GMT)

Pakistan has only one weakness and that is fielding. On green track and helpful conditions both Australia and South Africa were dismissed under 100 in their first innings. Pakistan's pace attack is not inferior to South Africa, Australia or England - but Pakistan's spin is far superior to any one. Fast and bouncy track also helps spinners if it is not too green and lets ball grip the pitch. Pakistan has three players who can cut their shots and survive. So Pakistan's batting will not be a major issue.

Posted by AH_USA on (January 22, 2013, 2:48 GMT)

If PAK batsmen are able to put somewhere around 350 on the board in each inning, it will become an interesting contest.

Posted by Geethike on (January 22, 2013, 2:01 GMT)

From a neutral perspective, I am really looking forward to Pakistani bowlers doing well in South Africa.They are the only bowling attack from the subcontinent that can really trouble teams like SA,AUS and England on their conditions. So..good luck from Sri Lanka

Posted by BOND_OO7 on (January 22, 2013, 1:58 GMT)

Pakistan batting is the major concern. They lack a rapid run scorer and a finisher as well

Posted by abbyk2 on (January 22, 2013, 1:55 GMT)

Irfan is the biggest gamble of all the Pakistani bowlers.It was clear in India he had done some Gym work on his legs before he went to India, they needed to be strong for him to bowl ten overs in the day. In the field he looked lame at times, however the bounce in the South African pitches will favour him if he used as a strike bowler as is Morne Morkel for thr South Africans. I would have perfered Azaia Cheema instead who is a work horse in most conditions. The rest of the bowling attack is world class lead by Ajmal, Rehman, Hafeez in the spin department and if the quicks , Junaid and Gulcan get rid of Hashim Amla early they have a chance because the top order of the South Africam bats have not faced quality bowling for some time. Kallis and Smith are not the batters they were a year ago, the same goes for Younis Khan for Pakistan.I hope he proves me wrong there is always Fasil Iqbal and lets hope the Greatness of Maindad has rubbed off onto the bat of his nephew.

Posted by azurecharms on (January 22, 2013, 0:58 GMT)

This pakistan team is not aweful if not awesome. In the past Pak teams better than this one has gone tatters; but this team fights and have gone through torrid times in controversies and on the pitch as well. Mind, they defeated Ausie and England in England, though they had Amer and Assef that time. Pak openers are not bad and #3 (Azhar) can stay on the wicket. If Jamshed gets the chance, he will give a show of Inzi stroke play. This is not a bad team at all and can surprise all pundits!

Posted by BOND_OO7 on (January 21, 2013, 23:52 GMT)

Pakistan will be outplayed by the proteas i bet. Only pak spinners could take a few wickets and show some competitive cricket.But As far as pakistan's pace attack is concerned,they can do nothing as South africans are used to batting on fast and bouncy wicket. It will be pak batsman who are bound to struggle.

Posted by oayaz01 on (January 21, 2013, 23:36 GMT)

1st Day Wandereres - SAF 290 for 3 with Amla and Kallis both scoring hundreds(Kallis not out , and Pakistan dropping 5 cathes in total, two each for Amla and Kallis and one for Smith who is later trapped lbw of Junaid.....Anyone wanna bet on this scorecard??

Posted by bridgefort on (January 21, 2013, 23:35 GMT)

There aren't many sides which can be as unpredictable as Pakistan. Which is why watching them can make for incredibly riveting cricket. Both sides have superb talent. This is an eagerly awaited contest.

I can't understand why a top rated side like South Africa rarely plays more than 3-4 tests with their most dangerous adversaries (be it Pak/Aus/India/ Eng)! They make for some of the best cricket in the world...

Posted by SirViv1973 on (January 21, 2013, 22:55 GMT)

@ozone8237, There is absolutely no prospect of SAF preparing slow turning pitches, Why would they? its the only area where Pak have an advantage and when was the last time you saw a slow turner in SAF? Rehman won't be a threat as he won't get a game as they will need 3 seamers & Ajmal.@UK_chap, I'm not much of a fan of FFL posts but I'm struggling to see how you think Pak's attack is FAR SUPERIOR to Eng's. I certainly can't see how Pak current seam attack is any way superior to Eng's. Gul apart this is a very inexperienced & unproven group of seamers, Junaid has only played 8 games & Irfan & Adil haven't played a test between them yet! Although our spinners are good I would say Pak combo of Ajmal, Rehman & Hafeez is better but not vastly. Eng bowlers performed very well in the UAE last year it was our batting which lost us that series.

Posted by here2rock on (January 21, 2013, 22:51 GMT)

Pakistan is a very ordinary battings side. Their batting will be sliced opened by South Africa. If you can not put a decent score on the board then your bowling is going to struggle to put any sort of pressure on South Africa.

Posted by ISI-Pakisatn-Tanoli on (January 21, 2013, 22:16 GMT)

If Misbha and Azhar will come on pitch with there dead batting style there is no doubt we can draw test series.... :D

Posted by   on (January 21, 2013, 21:57 GMT)

I believe that this is going to be a very challenging series for our Pakistani side. They beat England of course last year, but the pitch was absurdly favorable to Ajmal and another excellent spinner in Abdur Rehman. However, they are the most consistent of the teams that South Africa has faced recently-the South African top order hasn't faced a quality pace attack in a while, and while I still have my questions about Irfan, if they use him properly and manage his spells well he could be a dangerous bowler in Test conditions. Khan has looked good recently as well. The batting will certainly face greater troubles. However, they do have one major positive-Misbah has taught them great patience. You rarely see Pakistan bowled out for low totals like they have been sometimes historically since he has taken over. He may very well be the best Test captain in the world right now, and he is certainly one of the best ones in Pakistani history.A Pakistan win may well make Misbah a legend .

Posted by UK_Chap on (January 21, 2013, 21:50 GMT)

SirViv1973 : Lets all put the bravado aside because all will be revealed in due course, what I and all the other fans are hoping for is some hard fought games. SAF are a very good team but they can crumble just as easily as Pakistan, all it takes is one bad session and a match can be lost. You are right though SAF are playing at home and conditions should favor them. I hope Pakistan bring their A game for the series, they are going to need it.

Posted by Rahulbose on (January 21, 2013, 21:48 GMT)

SA is in real good form at the moment. You can never count out Pakistan given their bowling strength, but beating this SA team at home is a tall order.

Posted by Al_Bundy1 on (January 21, 2013, 21:35 GMT)

I have no doubts about Pakistan's bowling, but I have doubts about Pakistan's batting

Posted by SirViv1973 on (January 21, 2013, 21:04 GMT)

A lot of comments on here saying how good Pak Bowling line up is and some even saying its the equal of the saffers, taking in to account the conditions I have to disagree. Yes Ajmal is class but he won't have helpful surfaces for the vast majority of this series, Gul is decent but not outstanding & would not get in to the SAF 11. Junaid has shown some promise but remains very much unproven. I will be very surprised if Irfan is able to make an impact he looked awful in the ODIs against Eng when I saw him in 2010 & his fielding is an accident waiting to happen. I know little of Adil although he has a great domestic record that will count for little bowling against the quality of the saffers top 6.

Posted by SirViv1973 on (January 21, 2013, 20:55 GMT)

This is a massive test for Pak. They have shown a lot of improvement since 2010, but since then they haven't played a major series outside Asia. My gut feeling is they will fall short here as the conditions are against them and SAF appear stronger in all departments other than spin, which I doubt will play huge factor even with Ajmal in the side.

Posted by BravoBravo on (January 21, 2013, 20:53 GMT)

SA is a better and well balanced team, and has home advantage against PAK. It is just intriguing that no matter which 11 player PAK fields against SA, Kallis alone have scored more runs and taken more wickets than the entire PAK XI. Nonetheless, everyone has to agree that there is something about just PAK and WI teams, they have produced such charismatic and entertaining cricketer throughout the decades, that no other team can match. After watching mismatches/whitewashe like NZ vs SA, ENG vs IND, and AUS vs IND, audience deserve to see competitive test matches, not just whitewash and mismatches. Good luck to the game CRICKET.

Posted by UK_Chap on (January 21, 2013, 20:53 GMT)

Front-Foot-Lunge : Quite clearly you are an England fan, It must pain you deeply to know that Pakistan`s bowling attack is far superior to England`s. Making silly and spurious comments like you have done speaks volumes, it says one of two things, either you know nothing about cricket or you simply cannot handle the truth about how good Pakistan`s bowling attack is.

Posted by   on (January 21, 2013, 20:43 GMT)

Pakistan still having to rely on their old players like Younis because they know their young ones are simply not good enough. I predict a big thrashing for the old Pakistan team :D

Posted by heartbreakerz on (January 21, 2013, 20:26 GMT)

@front-Foot-Lunge.... one thing which is very obvious to most ppl on this forum is not to take guys like u seriously.

Posted by JustIPL on (January 21, 2013, 20:25 GMT)

Quality of batting byIndia and english inability against quality spin in UAE made look Pakistani attack awesome while south african lineup will be a real test as pak spin attack might not be enough. Furthermore, pakistani batting struggled heavily against indian bowling and by any counts south africa have much superior bowling lineup.On the other hand SA might be facing the best of NZ, Aus and Pak bowling lineups as Pak are the best of them.

Posted by CriCutter on (January 21, 2013, 20:15 GMT)

@Front-Foot-Lunge: Watch some cricket before posting baseless comments.

Posted by Saffacricket on (January 21, 2013, 20:08 GMT)

@Pakistan Fans. Guys, I applaud you. Passion for the game, informed comments. So sad politics intrudes on our wonderful game. Obviously I hope we (Saffers) win, but if our Proteas don't bring their best, your boys will give us a very, very hard time, Here's to a great series. LOVE THE GAME. Test cricket is soooo the best format!!!!

Posted by kc69 on (January 21, 2013, 20:06 GMT)

All the best to Pakistan from India...but my real worry is not Pak bowling but its batting(Because SA bowling is good enough to penetrate any team's batting order) and if SA gets both the openers then Pakistan is up for a challenge.Lets see whether Misbah can lead from front.

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (January 21, 2013, 19:38 GMT)

2-0 to saf. Conservative estimate.

Posted by AHFAD on (January 21, 2013, 19:36 GMT)

Everyone says Pakistan bowling is very strong. I don't agree. The left arm seamers will struggle with line and length on bouncy pitches. The best bowlers would be Gul and Ajmal. And they will have to perform to come close to victory.

On the contrary Pakistan batsmen will perform better than bowlers. Nasir, Azhar, Asad and Misbah will score. Younis and Hafeez will struggle big time.

2-1 SA.

Posted by cricket_fan_1980 on (January 21, 2013, 19:31 GMT)

Ajmal will be the trump card as he is a very wily and aggressive spinner. The Saffers will suffer against him. Hafeez will also be a less-spoken-about but very critical cog in the Pakistan bowling machine as he can stifle runs, bowl quick overs and put immense pressure on batsmen because with him around, the batting side usually feels that runs are drying up. Unleashing Junaid and Irfan will be a masterstroke as they're the kind of pacemen fully suited to SA conditions. Gul is a world class bowler to tie up the attack, and should be used wisely. Hafeez and Taufiq to open, Jamshed one-down, Azher next, then Younis, Misbah and Sarfraz. Gul, Aju, Junaid and Irfan. Seems like a solid side to me. I feel Pakistan does have the batting class to perform well here, they just need to hold their nerve early on in every innings.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (January 21, 2013, 19:31 GMT)

Everyone knows Pakistan have the 4th or 5th best attack in cricket, and are no where near the top teams in terms of skill, ability and fitness. Unfortunately, Ajmal is not taken seriously by many cricket either, for reasons to obvious to mention.

Posted by   on (January 21, 2013, 19:22 GMT)

A huge challenge awaits Pakistan. RSA are a fantastic side with superb all round strength. Pakistan has a good bowling unit, but technically the batting may get badly exposed. I do not expect a series win in truth, but to take a test must be a realistic aim.

Such series can forge great characters who pass thru such immense challenges.

Posted by Mohsin_Ali_Khan on (January 21, 2013, 18:55 GMT)

Why doesn't the time pass, just want to be watching this great series. Both sides are extremely balanced. Pakistan also this time not only have a good bowling attack but also a batting line-up worth relying. But key to Pakistan is how the Proteas play Ajmal. I reckon he is really going to be a big challenge for them. Misbah and Azhar are the two most indefatigable batsmen in the current international batting fraternity. My playing eleven for Pakistan would be 1. Hafeez 2. Nasir 3. Azhar 4. Younus 5. Misbah 6. Asad Sahfiq 7. Sarfraz 8. Gul 9. Ajmal 10. Junaid 11. Irfan BEST OF LUCK GUYS

Posted by The_Mystery_Ball on (January 21, 2013, 18:48 GMT)

One aspect that we keep on missing is the fielding. Saffers can create an opportunity out of nothing while we are more than capable of dropping the dolliest of dollies. Still if we can field half as good as the South Africans then we still might have a chance, be it the most slightest of chances to draw the series. Otherwise it is a whitewash or rather a greenwash.

Posted by SHAIKH_1982 on (January 21, 2013, 18:28 GMT)

Pakistan definently have the bowling attack to trouble the Proteas however their achilles heel is their batting. If their batting clicks I think they can win the series a big ask though.

Posted by likeintcricket on (January 21, 2013, 18:16 GMT)

On paper SA can win it easily but this Pak side is different and not very "unpredictable" They have good solid Test batsmans in their side and if they adapt quickly they can post a competitive score. Any score of 300+ and SA will be in trouble against a very good bowling attack. But I still think the class of SA batting and bowling is not easy to handle at their home.

Posted by Chacha_ckt on (January 21, 2013, 18:10 GMT)

Pak needs to play more tests!!! more tests!!! more tests!!!

Posted by   on (January 21, 2013, 18:08 GMT)

Realistically speaking, the best I'm hoping for is a drawn series. That is the only realistic outcome. And for that to happen, some of the batsmen will have to play outta their skins; same goes for the bowlers. If Pakistan loses, I hope we can use this as a learning curve and try to organize more tours, specially in Eng/SA/Aus. Pakistan has done very well in subcontinental conditions, now is the time to adapt to foreign conditions.

Posted by priceless1 on (January 21, 2013, 18:05 GMT)

Eagerly waiting to see how Junaid khan performs there ...as for the series i think it will be another 3-0 for the Suffers

Posted by   on (January 21, 2013, 18:02 GMT)

all due respect to Saffas but Pakistan have a very balanced team too. Can't see Irfan lasting a whole test match bowling 20 overs in a day but Ihsan Adil can be a good prospect. Saw him in few domestic matches and he looks a good bowler with a very decent line and length with good speed too. BTW i am quite hopeful about batting too. Azhar ali's dead bat alongside Misbah's will be a good fun too but Pakistan have a very very long tail and with Sarfraz who is a joke of a batter, all we have is top 6 batters.

Posted by haq33 on (January 21, 2013, 17:56 GMT)

Amla has been let off numerous times in recent matches while being on a low score, then going on to demolish opponents. All Pak need to do is get him early at the first clear chance. No drops. If he goes early, the rest will panic, guaranteed. The Pak batting is a game of roulette though. Also a special thank you to the many Indians out here predicting the results to come - so glad you have turned up...but why didn't you turn up during the recent odi series vs Pak?

Posted by Wasimkhan_222 on (January 21, 2013, 17:56 GMT)

It will be Competitive series.. I think Pakistan's Batting isn't that strong but if they post about 300 on scorecard and they can defiantly defend that as they've got the power in their bowling attack! So don't underestimate Pakistan .. So will be a great series f Pakistan can bat good.. Good luck to the men in green.. :-)

Posted by wiseshah on (January 21, 2013, 17:55 GMT)

pak fans are hallucinating. pakistan is a below average team. there is no way they can beat saf, pak fans think saf is a minnow, thats hillarious

Posted by   on (January 21, 2013, 17:52 GMT)

It depends on which Pakistan team shows up. On their day they can beat anyone in any format. Dangerous team.

Posted by MENDIS_Forever on (January 21, 2013, 17:48 GMT)

Pakistan to win the series..for sure!!!

Posted by Cric.007 on (January 21, 2013, 17:46 GMT)

Wonder why nobodies mentioning Umer Gul :/..hes been the leading fast bowler for a couple of years now and he will play a crucial role in the series as well..

Posted by zalmaypk on (January 21, 2013, 17:43 GMT)

Every one is saying here is that south Africa will win it 3- 0,, easily but they must remember that the south African team are a big choker because if they lose then they will also drop down from number one position. as ICC gave a test championship trophy every year in the month of April. so let see what happens this time.......

Posted by   on (January 21, 2013, 17:38 GMT)

SA has no chance to stand up to Pakistan Bowling attack. I think Pakistan is going to win the series easily...

Posted by ClaudiaSL on (January 21, 2013, 17:27 GMT)

Pakistan may not be too well prepared however the current team is showing all signs of resilience and never say die attitude - Those who are wishfully thinking of Pakistan crumbling will be sadly disappointed.

Posted by mensan on (January 21, 2013, 17:22 GMT)

I think SA will win 3-0. Very difficult to save whitewash but PAK must show some fight for their fans. Younis Khan will have to lead from front.

Posted by DrAtharAbbas on (January 21, 2013, 17:02 GMT)

@henchart: "over estimating their strength on the basis of performance against team like India." you perhaps forgot the Test series against England as a stroke of amnesia!!

Posted by ultimatewarrior on (January 21, 2013, 16:57 GMT)

Series will be in favor of SAF 2-0, as Pak batting is fairly inconsistent......although all 3 matches will be fairly interesting...one more thing SAF is well settled team and Pak is still searching players for some of the positions.......

Posted by voyager on (January 21, 2013, 16:52 GMT)

Agree with @Green_Team. What we the Pakistan supporters want is consistency and fight. Match SA blow by blow. They will have positive results if they hung on to fight when the chips are down, and reduce/eliminate unforced errors when have upper hand. To me series like these are more important than WC.

Posted by gsingh7 on (January 21, 2013, 16:51 GMT)

i predict 3-0 sa win with all matches finishing inside 4 days , as pak batting is mediocre to say the least and bowling is overrated , come on sa win big here

Posted by   on (January 21, 2013, 16:51 GMT)

no doubt tht pak bowling is satisfactory (subject to good fielding)but cannot say the same for their fielding n batting which do hv some tech flaws. at least inzi wud hv helped to rectify the batting problems on fast pitches of sa but they lack strategy. actually they do not hv any strategy n pak win matches only by individual efforts of players which not necesarily wl always click .anyway good luck pakistan. usmanali

Posted by zalmaypk on (January 21, 2013, 16:47 GMT)

Pak bowling is very good, and misbah told true, that Pakistan must play more test...ICC should notice it.otherwise they(ICC) will also be responsible if Pakistani cricket suffer due to it. as already they stop other countries for tour.

Posted by Stark62 on (January 21, 2013, 16:38 GMT)

Irfan doesn't even know how to tail the ball back into the right handers, so he'll be pretty much impotent because SA batsmen are very, very comfortable against the short ball.

Ehsan Adil is a rookie, plus Sadaf Hussain is a far superior bowler to him and would have been an ideal choice for this tour, with the fact he can swing the ball in both directions.

Lastly, I'm not expecting much from Shafiq, Taufeeq, Hafeez and Sarfraz. I hope they don't give Faisal Iqabal a chance because Harris Sohail would be a much better option than Shafiq or Iqbal at number 6.

Posted by SurlyCynic on (January 21, 2013, 16:24 GMT)

Looking forward to watching Ajmal and his 'unique action'.

Posted by DayDevil on (January 21, 2013, 16:23 GMT)

It will be a great series. I guess Pakistan fielding has improved, so i m hoping they will not disappoint in that department, the only thing that will distinguish this series to be a competitive one from a dead rubber (in favor of SA) will be Pakistan's batting, no one has handle the pace attack of SA so far, so let's hope Pakistani batting line up provide us with a good test series by showing some resistance

Posted by Eat_Sleep_Play_Cricket on (January 21, 2013, 16:19 GMT)

Pakistan has one of the best bowling attacks in the world but their batters are just club level. If Pak fails to post a total, than their bowling unit will succumb to pressure in an alien territory. Smith / Amla / Peterson are in amazing form followed by their middle order Kallis / AB / Duminy / du plessis. With absouletly no patience for standing at the crease pak bastman will be tested by Steyn / Phillander / Morkels on a seaming track.

Series will only be decided between SAF batters and Pakistan Bowlers. Calling 3-0 to SAF. I wont be surprised if matches end on 3rd day lunch giving SAF players plenty of time to relax for next match.

Posted by PakoP on (January 21, 2013, 16:18 GMT)

If PAK team takes all the Catches in a TEST, their is a good chance they will win it. Its all about backing your bowlers and not giving Opposition batsmen 2-3 chances.

Pak team Take all the Catches and you are GOLDEN. Over all Batting and bowling is very much Equal for both teams.

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (January 21, 2013, 16:11 GMT)

Pakistans bowling attack is world class, but there batting and catching is not up to the same standard as SA. Dont forget SA bat up to 7 and their top 6 is classy enough. (Smith, Petersen, Amla, Kallis, AB, Faff) +1

Posted by Green_Team on (January 21, 2013, 16:04 GMT)

This series will test Misbah's calmness, Batsman's Patience and Bowler's Caliber . . I am waiting to watch Azhar Ali and Asad shafiq batting in these tough conditions . . .

Posted by Sinhaya on (January 21, 2013, 16:04 GMT)

Other important thing for Pakistani batsmen to pursue here is to target as many singles and minimize slogging. Sri Lankans were into slogging a lot in Australia and that is what cost us the test matches. This tour is no doubt a great chance for Azhar Ali to get a good idea as to where he stands against good quality pace bowling. Centuries by Pakistani batsmen is the key in tests. Cant expect bowlers to always do the job as SA batting is well equipped to handle Pakistani bowling.

Posted by   on (January 21, 2013, 15:58 GMT)

Pakistan's batting gonna crumble like a deck of cards in Test matches

Posted by henchart on (January 21, 2013, 15:55 GMT)

Batting and fielding could be the cutting edges for SA.Having grown on pitches which aid bounce the likes of Smith,Amla,Kallis,Devilliers,DuPlessis and Alviro shouldnt find handling the likes of Gul,Junaid Khan and Irfan tough at all.Pakistan must not make the mistake of over estimating their strength on the basis of performance against team like India.England and Australia found that out against SA in recent times.

Posted by khantwal on (January 21, 2013, 15:54 GMT)

I am an Indian and as a true Cricket fan, i would like to see pakistan putting up better fight with bat (no worries about bowling).May best team wins.

Posted by Sinhaya on (January 21, 2013, 15:53 GMT)

Good luck Pakistan from a Sri Lankan who adores you all. I have to say one thing. The series will be largely decided by how Pakistani batsmen tackle the South African bowlers. No need to worry about Pakistani bowling as they will deliver the goods. Pakistani fielding has improved a lot under Julian Fountain.

I feel Pakistanis having good support in SA with a large fan base will be helpful and also Pakistan have beaten SA twice in tests in SA are added bonuses in the lead up. I think likely result could be 1-1 or 2-1 South Africa. I am still unconvinced about Pakistani batting being able to bat out say 5 sessions to draw, but hope I am wrong. Pakistan should definitely win at least one test cos if Sri Lanka were the last to beat SA in a test match, which was on the 29th Dec 2011, nothing can stop Pakistan winning with a far better bowling attack than ours.

Posted by Beertjie on (January 21, 2013, 15:43 GMT)

As much as I'd like Pakistan to do well, I doubt they'll win a test. To do that they not only have to hold their catches, but score centuries. Who will do that agains Philander, Steyn, Morkel etc.? Perhaps Newlands in February will be easier to bat on than the other venues, but Pakistan appear to have a long tail. Rehman and Ajmal could both play at Newlands and perhaps they could post a decent score if they win the toss. That would be their best chance, I reckon.

Posted by Fahii on (January 21, 2013, 15:36 GMT)

This is the series world has been waiting for .........SA no doubt extra-ordinary record under their belt, good pace attack & batting as well only weaker in spin depart. Pak no doubt turned out a brilliant side having defeated 3-0 eng, good pace attack, extra ordinary spin depart, weaker in fielding & batting. In a way a slight upper hand to SA coz of home wickets but honestly speaking PK has been performing well away from home. so 50-50 chances for both teams.

Posted by Cricket_Man on (January 21, 2013, 15:36 GMT)

Pakistan is going to white wash South Africa. Don't be surprised and don't come asking me how did you know :P

Posted by nyazdanie on (January 21, 2013, 15:34 GMT)

It will be a tough test series.

Posted by Solid_Snake on (January 21, 2013, 15:24 GMT)

the only way Pak could win this series is the fielding..You just take catches & Pak is good to go.

Posted by iBilal on (January 21, 2013, 15:21 GMT)

the pace armory is pretty even in both teams. I hope what Pakistan lacks in batting, could make up for with their spin.. Nonetheless, an exciting contest

Posted by BowledYa on (January 21, 2013, 15:18 GMT)

I believe Graeme Smith is correct. This is a much more consistent Pak team and the series should be very competitive. The Pak attack is the best in the world (seam+spin) and will give a torrid time to any team. Look at India's low scores in the 3 ODIs recently. That should give confidence to the batting lineup. Looking forward to a great series!

Posted by swat1999 on (January 21, 2013, 15:17 GMT)

This Test series will be a blunder. I eagerly waiting for the excitement. For the bowling strength both team is almost same but for the batting and grounds point of view South africa is advantage including their support of home crowd. Pakistan must be worried about thair slip fielders they have world class bowler but slip catching and fielding is poor. If Pakistan batsman abfle to score 350 run for average innings then Pakistan may win the series

Posted by Syed_imran_abbas on (January 21, 2013, 15:17 GMT)

SA is starting as a fav team but having said that it wont be that easy. Pakistan test side is quite settled. I am sure their batting will show better performances than people have been predicting. One thing really worries me is guys not having played much in SA conditions and Pakistans wicket keeper batsman. wish you good luck boys.. Can't wait the series to start.

Posted by bangash5555 on (January 21, 2013, 15:10 GMT)

Pakistan got some good batsmen like Azhar Ali, and Nasir , Hafeez is in good touch, If Pakistan managed to bowel well , they are bound to produce good results. Azhar played well in England, he will be good i am sure. Best of luck Pakistan Team

Posted by Alive2cu on (January 21, 2013, 15:07 GMT)

Everytime pakistan goes to tour to SA or Aus, I start thinking of an upset and a win for us, but it has not happened yet... Hopefully, this time they make an upset and win a series which really matters... Beating SA in SA or Aus in Aus is the real thing in Cricket and unfortunately, they have not done this real thing yet..

Posted by UK_Chap on (January 21, 2013, 14:56 GMT)

If anything lets Pakistan down, it will not be the bowling, it is always the batting that has let us down in the past. Having said that, this current lot seem to have shown abit more fight. It will be an interesting series. This will also be the first series in a long time that South Africa will probably get a taste of some of their own medicine (facing a good bowling attack). It will be good to see how the SAF batsmen handle the Pakistan bowlers that is if they can......

Posted by Faizan_memon19 on (January 21, 2013, 14:55 GMT)

Brace yourselves proteas. We are coming.

Posted by LeftBrain on (January 21, 2013, 14:52 GMT)

Let the series begin! Although South Africa is definitely a superior team with almost all aspects covered (except for a good spin bowler) Pakistan's lively pace attack will make it a better contest then most of the other team's can produce (Eng & Aus are exceptions!!) It will be the test of Pakistan's batting as Misbah and Dave mentioned. If they can socre decent runs, Pakistan has a bowling attack to challenge SA team. I hope for good cricket, hatdly fought contests and fair play from all parties involved. Let the cricket win!!

I am not going to predict outcome of the series, SA will start as favourites and will definitely test Pakistan to its core.

Posted by CricketMaan on (January 21, 2013, 14:52 GMT)

Despite a Team India supporter, I will follow this series thro' cricinfo as it has to be the most efficient new ball attack vs the most promising new ball attack. as for batting SA is way far ahead of Pak. The biggest challenge for Junaid is if SA can see him off in the first 2 spells, how well he can come back and bowl with the old ball consistently. Lastly his fitness will be tested over 3 Tests. My fav picks that will keenly follow will be Hashim, Kallis, AB, Faf, Steyn, Vernon and Hafeez, Saeed, Junaid, Umar. Hashim/Kallis vs Saeed, AB/Faf vs Junaid will be great to watch.

Posted by Surajdon9 on (January 21, 2013, 14:48 GMT)

I'm sure if Pak will Improve their Slip, Gully Catching then It will be more than easy To get 20 South african Wickets..Junaid, Gul n Tower Irfan will rocks and everyone know what can Hafeez and Ajmal do on 3rs and 4th Innings of the game..All the Best pak. Waiting for Cracking Series....

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