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Geoff Boycott on the road ahead for Pakistan on their tour of South Africa
February 14, 2013
Here's an excerpt from the latest Bowl at Boycs show
ST: Sticking to batting, our next question is from David in Australia. He says: Pakistan's batsmen were all at sea against the South African fast bowlers, including Kallis. Who do you think is the key batsman for Pakistan, and where can they go from here?
GB: I don't think it's a case of one of them being a key batsman. I watched them play the South African fast bowling and the problem was - it's inherent in the fact that Pakistanis play on pretty flat surfaces that don't bounce a great deal. I've been to Pakistan many times, playing and commentating. The new ball does a little bit, but after that it's fairly straightforward for batting. They played at Johannesburg, and they were all at sea because the ball bounced, which they don't get in Pakistan, and it moved off the seam at pace. They were playing in Jo'burg, about 5000 feet above sea level. The ball zipped at them quickly, bounced alarmingly into the chest, and moved around.
From what I saw - and I saw quite a lot of the Test match, I was in South Africa - was that if South Africa's seamers would have been bowling at South Africa's batsmen, who are pretty good and a lot more used to the bounce and speed of Johannesburg, I think they would have found it a handful. That's because they are very, very good bowlers and there was enough in the pitch to cause a problem for batsmen who had a good technique and batsmen who are used to the bounce, pace, and movement of the ball. South Africa's batsmen would have made more runs than Pakistan, but I think they would have been hard-pressed to make 150. I really do.
So it's not a question of who is the key batsman for Pakistan. I don't think anybody is. What they should hope for, more than anything, is they get a pitch that isn't fast and bouncy. Now, they do have [such] pitches in South Africa. There's Port Elizabeth that isn't bouncy. Pretoria [Centurion] can have a bit of bounce, but it won't be like Jo'burg. So there shouldn't be any more pitches in South Africa like Jo'burg - they'll get one or two that bounce a little bit, like Cape Town, and Pretoria, just a little bit. But not as alarmingly as Johannesburg.
It's a pitch on which the ball moved around. It bounced, it seamed, and Dale Steyn, to me, he is a terrific bowler, the best bowler in the world. He would be a top-class bowler in any era. He will bowl and make it uncomfortable against any batsman in the world on the surface they played on. I do believe that some batsmen in the world would play better, adapt better, to the surface than the Pakistanis did, but if Pakistan had gone and batted again in Jo'burg, against Steyn and Co, they would have struggled. It's the nature of where they grow up, and the pitches they grow up on.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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