South Africa v Pakistan, 2nd Test, Cape Town February 13, 2013

Injured Junaid unlikely for Newlands


Junaid Khan, the left-arm quick, is a major doubt for Pakistan ahead of the second Test against South Africa. He took a tumble a few days ago and the wounds on his thigh are still healing so he may not be considered for selection.

At the pre-match press conference, Pakistan's coach Dav Whatmore initially said Junaid was unavailable for the Cape Town Test. When pushed for confirmation he then revealed that Junaid will be fit for the third Test in Centurion. However, team manager Naved Cheema added to the confusion by saying Junaid has made progress and could be picked for the Newlands match.

If Junaid is ruled out, a second spinner, the left-armer Abdur Rehman could make an appearance on what is expected to be a dry surface. What seems unlikely to depend on Junaid's fitness is the fate of 7ft quick Mohammed Irfan, who is in line for a Test debut at Newlands after his seven wickets in the tour match against the Emerging Cape Cobras.

South Africa have been preparing for the Irfan who Graeme Smith said will present them with a "unique challenge." Jokes about Allan Donald standing on a cooler box to give the batsmen throw-downs are just wisecracks but Alviro Petersen confirmed that the team has done extensive technical analysis on Irfran.

What they have also been studying is Pakistan's batting technique. Sixteen of the 20 wickets in the first Test fell to catches behind the stumps, suggesting that Pakistan did not leave as well as they could have. Whatmore attributed that to insufficient time spent getting used to conditions, a common problem with modern fixture lists.

"The longer you play here, the better you will get. The same applies when teams from here tour the sub-continent. They have got better because they tour there so often," he said. Pakistan played one four-day match ahead of the first Test on an East London pitch that was completely dissimilar to the one they put on at the Wanderers.

They have since had another game, of only two days despite the break between matches extending to 10, against the Emerging Cape Cobras. "We could have had more practice matches beforehand maybe but the schedule did not allow for it," Whatmore said.

While Pakistan attribute their first innings performance in Johannesburg on adjustment, Smith chose to credit the South African attack for who testing the opposition technique and showing it up. "I'd like to put it down to our guys getting good swing. They also allowed us to bowl at them and we managed to control the run rate," he said.

Conditions at Newlands may not allow for the same approach. On a surface that will offer less the quicks than the Wanderers, Pakistan may find it a little easier to judge their off stump. But Smith hopes that will work in South Africa's favour too. "If you come into the game with the mindset to leave, you are going to be tentative," he said.

For that reason, Whamore has spent the last ten days concentrating on helping the batsmen understand the choices they will have to make in this match. "Shot selection is the main thing with any batsman," he said. "If you make 90 or 100 correct decisions in an innings, you are going to score a lot of runs."

Nasir Jamshed was the player Whatmore was most disappointed in after the Wanderers. After playing himself into a position to get his maiden Test half-century, Jamshed pulled a short ball straight at mid-on when he could so easily have played a different shot.

Whatmore singled out the young opener because he showed he had the potential to get the better of the opposition bowlers for a period of time and then caused his own downfall. Jamshed did not get the opportunity to practice rectifying that in a match situation because he turned his ankle before game against the Emerging Cape Cobras but it has healed in the lead up to his Test.

That will come as some good news for Pakistan, who have been hit by a spate of injuries and illnesses on this tour. Taufeeq Umar and Haris Sohail were sent home before the first and second Tests respectively, Asad Shafiq almost missed the first Test with a hand injury, wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed was hit on the nose and Mohammed Hafeez had a viral infection.

Sarfraz and Hafeez have both been cleared to play in the second Test which means Pakistan avoid the need for wholesale changes. It will be down to the same top order to make amends.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • narsimha on February 14, 2013, 9:56 GMT

    syad waqar hasan zaidi -wow what a comparision a mole with the mountain

  • Dummy4 on February 14, 2013, 7:21 GMT

    Frankly Junaid has to prove himself if he wants to compare himself with Dale Styen, There is no doubt that Junaid is a very good bowler but still Dale is better then him in terms of accuracy and pace.....

  • Dummy4 on February 14, 2013, 6:55 GMT

    @Zifan Hai Can we please hold off such tall claims until the end of the first day's play at least. The only team to be humbled, crumbled and put in its place up until now has been ours! Think about how silly your comments will sound if this trend continues God Forbid.

  • Pad on February 14, 2013, 6:46 GMT

    You dont need too fancy spinners.... get a spinner who does the basics right and always put the ball in the correct slot and play the mind game well. Learn from Herath, ask him how he went through South African line-up to give Sri Lanka a victory in South African soil!

  • Dummy4 on February 14, 2013, 6:15 GMT

    I think Steyn is over hyped. He was not successful in every part of the world, in every kind of surfaces. Pakistan have always produced greatest of fast bowlers. More importantly they were innovative. Steyn has to go a long way to prove his mastery. Can he be become a versatile bowler... lets say like wasim ? Long way to go...until then be humble!

  • Dummy4 on February 14, 2013, 6:03 GMT

    I have this feeling SA will suffer a humiliating defeat and Pakistan will make them humble. SA will crumble and will find their rightly deserved place!

  • shiva on February 14, 2013, 5:55 GMT

    Junaid is the best bowler of pak who doesnt even get place in the team when Amir n Asif return :P As of Steyn, he is in my top three list of all time best bowlers and i dont care what people say/criticize about him. I guess even SIR VIV RICHARDS would have weared an Helmet when facing Dale Steyn.

  • Dummy4 on February 14, 2013, 5:24 GMT

    Pakistan shud go for Rehman & Irfan in place of Injured Junaid & Rahat. Lets see how Pak can make a come back into the series.

  • MOHAMMED on February 14, 2013, 2:51 GMT

    Big blow for Pakistan, now there is no wicket taking bowler in Pakistan side

  • Inam on February 14, 2013, 2:47 GMT

    SA batting is deep it is hard to get 20 wickets in their backyard. Pakistan is not going to score many runs that is fact, how do you win then. SA will not bundle out twice, SA struggled in Australia,they were lucky to be 0-0 starting 3rd test, Steyn and company were struggling to get aussies out twice and almost lost 2nd test, their long batting lineup bailed them out. If Pakistan win toss and play positive and score 400 plus they have a chance with 2 spinners. In that scenario it might be either YK or Hafeez will get quick runs, Azhar, Misbah will block one end, NJ might play quick also, Toss is the key to win, If win toss Pakistan winning chances will get thin, SA do not want to bat significantly in third inning if they win toss.

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