South Africa v Pakistan, 2nd Test, Cape Town

Pacy Mohammad Irfan stands out

He might not have a bagful of wickets on Test debut, but he showed he was more than an unusually tall curiosity

Firdose Moonda

February 18, 2013

Comments: 82 | Text size: A | A

Mohammad Irfan bowls on Test debut, South Africa v Pakistan, 2nd Test, Cape Town, 2nd day, February 15, 2013
With his pace and ability to get the ball to rear from a length, Mohammad Irfan showed he was not a misfit at Test level © AFP

Whatever the outcome of the third Test between South Africa and Pakistan at Centurion, Misbah-ul-Haq's men can leave knowing they gave a good account of themselves.

At Newlands, Younis Khan and Asad Shafiq posted the highest partnership by an opposition team in South Africa in seven years, Saeed Ajmal took ten wickets in a match to show his ability as the world's best spinner and Pakistan provided South Africa with their first real challenge of the home summer. Besides that, the impact of Mohammad Irfan will have left a lasting impression.

Having watched the seven-footer perform in the ODIs in India, the cricketing public could not wait to see him with red ball in hand. The Wanderers seemed the perfect venue. With a pitch that would offer bounce and carry surely Irfan would be a trump card.

Pakistan held him back. Instead, Rahat Ali made his debut, a disappointing one in which he went wicket-less in 25 fairly expensive overs. Misbah-ul-Haq confirmed there was temptation to play Irfan but that the team management felt he still had some development to do before he could be considered ready.

In the tour match before the first Test, Irfan couldn't keep the runs down. Word from the South African invitation side that played against him was that he was imposing but erratic. Some of them said once they got used to the physical presence they were confronted with, he was not too difficult to get away. Adjusting to the fuller length was an obvious challenge.

But in the practice game after the Wanderers Test, Irfan came into his own. His opposition was a mixture of players from South Africa's second-tier first-class tournament (the provincial domestic competition not the franchise one) but he showed he means business. He was restrictive and incisive with 7 for 40 in the match and speculation was rife that he had earned a Test debut.

Before the Newlands match, Misbah said Irfan had become better in his follow-up spells which had been a specific area of concern. With Rahat failing to make an impact at the Wanderers and Juniad Khan an injury doubt, Irfan was certain to feature and there was much anticipation when his name appeared in the starting XI.

Graeme Smith's decision to field first meant interested parties still had to wait to see Irfan and his first appearance was made with bat in hand. Immediately, he stood out. Next to the fielders he was a giant, next to his own team-mates the same but it seemed he was a gentle one as he tried to slog Robin Peterson in ungainly fashion and was eventually bowled.

His bowling appearance took even longer because he was not given the new ball. His first-innings performance was all but forgotten when Saeed Ajmal started the procession of South African wickets and the spotlight was almost completely off Irfan.

But he grabbed some of it. His first Test wicket was the soft dismissal of AB de Villiers who was caught at mid-on. Irfan did not show child-like glee but responded to his success in a measured, mature fashion, befitting a 30-year-old. The only comedy was his team-mates jumping up to high-five him.

He came into his own as the match went on and was given the new ball in the second innings. South Africa's batsmen all said it was "pretty terrifying," to face him at first. What they also noted was that he was much quicker than they expected and regularly breached the 140kph mark when they thought he was around mid-130s.

Although not a quick bowlers' surface, with no swing on offer and nowhere near the steep bounce that can be expected on South Africa's Highveld. But Irfan have a solid account of himself which Dav Whatmore was happy with, even though there are some things to work on, as there are with many rookies.

His run-up is the biggest one after he overstepped eight times, once for a wicket-taking ball, and was spoken to for running on the pitch. Whatmore dismissed the second of those as being due to "big feet," and overall said Irfran's showing satisfied him. "He tried pretty hard," Whatmore said. "It was his first Test match and the conditions didn't suit him but he showed he has something."

The something will be seen more clearly at Centurion. That is the ground South Africa usually prepare to assist the quicks and where they have recorded innings wins over India and Sri Lanka in the last two seasons. They may think twice about doing that this time around given the threat Irfan could pose. It may give him an opportunity to perform to his full capabilities which South Africa may not like but the cricketing world definitely will.

"He is a hard working cricketer," Mohammad Akram, Pakistan's bowling coach, said. "The only words out of his mouth are "I love bowling," and I think not only Pakistan, but the world will enjoy his bowling." On the evidence of his first Test, it certainly seems that way.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by TaqiSharp on (February 20, 2013, 16:34 GMT)

I firstly ask what change will work.....the change of captain who gave a right succes way to scrambled pakistan and have a enormous hand in making them subcontinents Top ranked team....grow older its time to roll up the sleeves and up the socks and make them even harder to think for win at Centurian...we are not the favourites but sooner this word will stick to us.....

Posted by Sports4Youth on (February 20, 2013, 12:39 GMT)

Waqar is right. Bring WAHAB RIAZ. It will make UMAR GUL look betteR.


Posted by Sports4Youth on (February 20, 2013, 12:29 GMT)

UMAR GUL was always a T20 bowler. He should not have been selelcted in tests at all. Even when Pak lost the two M's (Amir & Asif), Pak should have launched a massive hunt for younger talent in the so many matches that the played against SL, Bangladesh, England in the Asian conditions and also against NZ in NZ and Zimbabe in Zimbabwe. But all the opportunities were squandered in retrying M.Sami, W.Riaz, Sohail Tanvir etc. So finally back to square one.

Atleast now, get rid of UMAR GUL from Test matches. Don't think too much short-term. Plan long-term. I am sure you will get players better than Gul from Ehsan Adil, Sadaf Hussain, Rahat Ali & Asad Ali. But make sure that a decent opportunity is provided to a player once selected.


Posted by haseeb72 on (February 20, 2013, 10:31 GMT)

PCB should fire Dave Whatmore and J. Fountain as our team has no need foreign coaches instead a foreign Analyst can be hired who could be very effective.

Posted by dontlikecricket on (February 20, 2013, 9:28 GMT)

@priceless1:February 19, 2013, 6:32 GMT): I am aware IND and SL have won test matches in SA, but it was before SA was no:1. I may be wrong but PAK has also won a test match there in the past. But that what it is "PAST". I do not think any one now suggests that IND & SL will beat SA at their home at this time?? My argument is IND has lost all the test matches when playing away in AUS and ENG. IND has also recently lost series at home to ENG. On the other hand PAK has won against ENG last year when ENG was suppose to be no:1 Can IND and SL win in SA at this time??? Not a chance (offcourse there is always an outside chance a team may win against all odds). SA at this time no doubt is the best team by a mile. It's very balanced and just missing a quality spinner.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2013, 1:30 GMT)

Firdose, I always love to read your columns. You are always neutral and describe events and people very well. Irfan is impressive right from his first appearance in India and I really felt bad when Pak. chose not to put him in the first test. I am sure he'll do great in Centurion.

Posted by Stark62 on (February 19, 2013, 22:00 GMT)

@ Amar Mendes

Pak and Ind were one once, hence the oldest club club in Ind can be used as the oldest in Pak too but why are you concerned?!?!

The only thing that matters, is the present and the future. Currently, Pak are a top side and especially, at home. Pak may have lost the series against SA in SA but they'll definitely beat them in the UAE later this year and Ajmal has already proved this to be a fact because in the UAE, the pitch turns from day 1 and Rehman will partner him, plus Steyn and co. won't get as much swing or seam movement.

Posted by   on (February 19, 2013, 20:39 GMT)

Can anyone help, which is the oldest Cricket club in Pakistan?

Here are some of the oldest clubs of their respective countries!

The Calcutta (CC&FC) founded in 1792 Singapore Cricket Club Established in 1852 Mombasa Sports Club formed in 1896 The Melbourne Cricket Club founded in 1838 Toronto Cricket Club which was founded in 1827 Phoenix CC is the oldest cricket club in Ireland, founded in 1830 Colombo Cricket Club oldest in the country, having been formed in 1832.

I know Lahore Gymkhana club was formed in 1st May 1878, but is it the oldest?

Posted by SaadRocx on (February 19, 2013, 20:06 GMT)

PCB should fire What-More? the moment he and the team lands on the Pak soil..i mean common? you and he team lets the Whole Nation Down..Cricket is the only thing left in Pak and you're letting it down with such pathetic and unacceptable displays? CMON

Posted by SaadRocx on (February 19, 2013, 19:51 GMT)

Need to Change 1)HeadCoach 2)Bowling Coach..3)Captain ..4)Vice Captain...5)Keeper.. and every thing will be alright..:)

Posted by Smahuta on (February 19, 2013, 19:28 GMT)

With some experience behind him, and if he can stay fit, he will develop into a really good bowler. He was quicker than I was led to believe which makes him exciting to watch with his bounce. Would have loved to see him at the wanderers! Unfortunately the Pak selectors seem very strange with their selections/non selections so you never know if he will be picked one day to the next. I remember playing against a former Pak player in the surrey league who played only one test match for Pakistan. In that match he scored a century against the likes of Pollock and Donald in their pomp, and was never picked again. I asked him why and his response was "they never liked me". If you know your cricket you know who I am talking about.

Posted by sperle on (February 19, 2013, 17:35 GMT)

misbah needs to be out,he never used hafiz,he never included rehman,they put tanveer and rahit who r useless,they really need hafiz to be the captain,play azhar as open,may be hafiz go as one down followed by jamshed,this time i think they played like college kids play,hafiz,younus ,sarfraz,misbah,asad shafiq they all threw away their wickets,they forgot htey were playing test match,umar gul needs to go,mohd anwar be given a chance,irfan is of but we need young blood,he has no future.

Posted by jamalahmed on (February 19, 2013, 17:00 GMT)

really man was really impressed by him and i know people will not agree with me but i think its time umar gul should be given some rest in the limited overs game he has been integral part in all forms of game from past 3 years and some new fast bowlers should be brought in t20s i guess every team should learn a lesson from southafrica how they manage their teams for every format

Posted by Big3BOSS on (February 19, 2013, 13:15 GMT)

It was only due to herculean effort of Ajmal and the inability of SA batters to play spin that brought this match close. This herculean effort is not going to happen match after match. Otherwise the chasm or gap between the talents of the two teams is so great that if its not 3-0 it will be victory for Pakistan

Posted by Gamla on (February 19, 2013, 9:59 GMT)

Loved this Irfan guy, I think once Junaid Khan is fit the two of them could be a lethal opening pair with Gul as first change. It was really funny when the rest of the team tried to high five him (lol) I also think that the Pakistan batsmen will become better at facing pace when these guys start bowling at them regularly in the nets, their openers sure could use some quality time there. Hafeez & Jamshed seem to be very good ODI/T20 openers, but they will have to step up their techniques for tests and learn when to play and when to leave, or someone else should take their place.

Posted by Sports4Youth on (February 19, 2013, 8:27 GMT)

I did not find him very bad. Infact before terming him as eratic we should realise that at 7 feet it is difficult to manage the frame for fast bowling and yet the lad is producing 145 kmph. As far as the over hyped Umar Gul is concerned he is eratic even at 135. This is not a perfect world. This lad is bringing so much to the table. Pakistan & Misbah must learn to use what he brings and then provide encouragement and assistance to improve him. You dont get such fast bowlers regularly. In the 1st test Misbah was a nut to keep him waiting on a fast & bouncy wicket. These are tactics to destroy such players mentallly. Eventually he will get injured. But before that why not use him.

Posted by   on (February 19, 2013, 8:24 GMT)

One thing of positve for pakistan is they didnt allowd saffers to cross 350 mark in any innings... despite top class batting. means bowlling did the job for us..

Posted by Sports4Youth on (February 19, 2013, 8:13 GMT)

It seems Irfan was a bit eratic at times. But Gul have been eratic most of the time. Wahab Riaz has been Super eratic, but i have hardly seen this criticism against them.

Posted by Pathiyal on (February 19, 2013, 8:11 GMT)

Its a good start for him and he was really impressive. he was bowling in the right areas most of the time and making good use of the pitch as well as his height. wish him more success in the third test as well as a 'taller' future. Short pitched bowling at 140 is a real treat for the viewers.

Posted by SuPerDuPerMaN on (February 19, 2013, 7:53 GMT)

Instead of criticizing, I think that we need to commend the way Pakistan competed against the number 1 side in the world. Yes they were well on top at one point in time and let their position of authority go, but this is what Test cricket really is. This lovely game never ceases to amaze us. We had two centurions in the test who constituted the highest partnership by overseas batsmen in the last 6,7 years and Ajmal was phenomenal with his 10-for in the match. Azhar Ali went on to score runs and so did Misbah. Irfan bowled super quick despite being erratic. We looked down and out in the first test but came back strongly in the second. Come on guys we gave the Proteas a run for their money and yet we are despondent. This performance was a stepping stone for bigger things to follow. Hats off to TEAM PAKISTAN!

Posted by   on (February 19, 2013, 7:33 GMT)

misbah need to look at his own performance.

Posted by   on (February 19, 2013, 7:28 GMT)

pakistan can only blame themselves, coming close is not winning, truth be told they rely heavily on Ajmal, the pacers in Test cricket arent devasting even if they are 7 ft tall.....this was a test won,, Steyn and Phillander are great, but ive rarely seen a faster ball then 145kph from steyn, they face that kind pace daily in the why soo feeble?? bring on the spin duo of rehman and ajmal...thats what gave us the series against England....and those UAE pitches werent rank turners, these bowlers just outclassed batsmen...Ajmal needs a good support bowler...the days of wasim,waqar and akhtar are gone...we have not left to instill fear into batsmen, fear of their lives! its gone! time to look at spin as the future for pakistan test cricket!

Posted by javed.agrawala on (February 19, 2013, 7:12 GMT)

Some unpardonable errors in management My concern is with the dispute between team and tour selection committees. Why was Ehsan taken if Rahat and Tanwir were to be called up! What was so serious about Taufiq's and Haris' injuries that they have to miss the entire series? Tanwir's bowling is military medium that will not trouble any good batsman. If he picks up any wickets it will be due to batsman's errors and not due to his pace, or swing, or seam or bounce. He bats much better than could be reasonably expected but is not in the team as a good # 8 batsman. Also if for this surface Rahman was in, almost as a good a bat as Tanwir and a bowler with great credentials we would have won. Saeed is #1 but a huge reason for his success in UAE was Rahman at the other end. Our other bowlers,the faster ones, were leaking big and thereby reducing his operating time plus no wickets coming from the other end. Also some advice on tackling balls pitching outside leg should have been provided!

Posted by matchfixerpkn on (February 19, 2013, 7:10 GMT)

1) Mohammad Irfan (Pakistan) - 7′ 1″ 2) Joel Garner (West Indies) - 6′ 8″ 3) Bruce Reid (Australia) - 6′ 8″ 4) Curtly Ambrose (West Indies) - 6′ 7 5) Tom Moody (Australia) - 6′ 7″ 6) Jacob Oram (New Zealand) - 6′ 6″ 7) Abey Kuruvilla (India) - 6′ 6″ 8) Peter Fulton (New Zealand) - 6′ 6″ 9) Morne Morkel (South Africa) - 6′ 5″ 10) Ishant Sharma (India) - 6′ 5″

Posted by matchfixerpkn on (February 19, 2013, 6:36 GMT)

haha..if steyn was not in sauth africa, if smith was not captain, if imran khan and wasim akram are the new ball partners , if stil abdul kader as thrid spinner, if moin khan as keeper ...if inzamam was there ...if ball was not changed...come on many players going to play agianst sauth africa..if we consier these if series then it will be more than 25 players :) if my words are not wrong.. more than performance pak depend on IF...

Posted by priceless1 on (February 19, 2013, 6:32 GMT)

@dontlikecricket what toughest your talking about mate ? so far PAK has been the worse subcontinent team to tour SA because India manged to level the series when last time they toured and even SL manged to win a test match here when they toured last year

Posted by   on (February 19, 2013, 6:21 GMT)

NO doubt that Pakistan can win this match comfortably if they played according to their capabilities... Good Competition though...@ SAffers we accept our defeat but decencies should be point out that what should be done at the specific situation...Please drop Umar Gul and Tanvir Ahmad and Play Junaid Khan and Abdur Rehman or Ehsan Adil...Try new guys

Posted by   on (February 19, 2013, 5:58 GMT)

in the first inning new ball should have given to irfan instead of tanvir thats a mistake by captain when you have bowler who can bowl 140km plus why you start with 120km

Posted by   on (February 19, 2013, 5:25 GMT)


Let's see you do that in UAE or anywhere in the subcontinent.

Posted by   on (February 19, 2013, 5:10 GMT)

I think Pakistan Captain should Bring , Faisal Iqbal, Imran Fahrat, Abdul Rehman in place of Slow Pacer Tanvir, Nasir Jamshed.... PCB Should Select Abdul Razzak, Muhammad Sami , Fawad Alam for 20 T and One Day encounters.

Posted by wakaPAK on (February 19, 2013, 4:54 GMT)

SA was a goner, had Pak selected Abdurrahman in place of Tanvir. Great game Pak..

Posted by PureProteas49 on (February 19, 2013, 4:13 GMT)

@mazii thanks you won me a 20 buck bet with a mate, I said wait for the excuses about the ball change, ha, always someone or something elses fault, cant possibly be your batsmen, sad

Posted by ZMPK on (February 19, 2013, 4:05 GMT)

Ye he did well in the last test but i think that Misbah didn't use him properly otherwise he could have performed much better than this ....Misbah didn't shown much faith on him and gave new ball to a bowler who even dose not deserve to be in national side. Yea Tanvir Ahmed.

Posted by PureProteas49 on (February 19, 2013, 4:04 GMT)

All I am reading here are the usual excuses, if this happened, if that happened, you people actually think without amla, steyn and kallis you would have beaten us, you have no idea whats waiting in the wind but you will soon be finding out, accept you were the losers on the day and move on, you guys giving your wickets away is not our business, you decided to try and play T20 (in a test) and we sniffed you out just like your mates nz, accept your defeat and lets carry on to green top centurion.

Posted by   on (February 19, 2013, 1:51 GMT)

i think this is a silly article,this bowler is still mediocre and south africa will not be sweating about this bowler as they are skilled enough to face him..

Posted by dontlikecricket on (February 18, 2013, 23:49 GMT)

Regardless how disappointed PAK fans are, the team challenged SA well and may be the toughest one to SA for a considerable time. I think Gul will keep on playing until new bowlers make their mark. Problem for Gul is that he is not actually a bad bowler, he is not a great bowler, but due to PAK producing so many great bowlers, he will be always get measured against them. And his fitness level is good which is an added bonus. PAK batting is always going to be an issue especially on fast, bouncy wickets. But you cant expect batsmen to start scoring runs on these kinds of wickets when they are not use to playing on them. SA and AUS batsmen are use to these conditions so natuarlly they will always be better. Only solution is for PCB to ask groundsmen to keep the grass on the wickets during domestic competition. I wonder why they have not done it for years?? I am not saying make all the wickets fast but may be between 25% to 50% should do the trick!!

Posted by Jimmyrob83 on (February 18, 2013, 23:43 GMT)

Don't know why there is such a big fuss made over this guy, he is quite ordinary.

Posted by Cricket_theBestGame on (February 18, 2013, 22:32 GMT)

@mazii - i agree that misbah again cost us the test match. why didn't he bowl hafiz more? also why DID steve davis change the ball on his own? did any of the south african complain? isn't it that umpires are there to make sure game is played normally instead of influencing it by changing balls by their own accord? if the ball wasn't changed then pakistan may have added another 50-100 runs and at the end thats what they needed!

Posted by gujratwalla on (February 18, 2013, 21:30 GMT)

Test cricket is not all ability.sometimes a medicore team ably led by a thinking and shrewd captain can beat a team with far more gifted players. Misbah is a cautious and defensive player and captain whereas Smith is always attacking and positive. Pakistan lost simply because of this mind set which has not fully capitalised on Irfan's talent. A brave and adventurous captain would have blooded Irfan in the first test and attacked the SA pacers in Pakistan' s 2nd innings here. Had Misbah and azhar been more positive And left SA a target of around. 250 Ajmal and Irfan would have won the match. Misbah was too defensive and did not pressurise the SA tail enders relenting from using attackingfields.

Posted by   on (February 18, 2013, 20:44 GMT)

Mazi "SA is no 1 team but they are not a great team. SA rely too heavily upon three three players AMLA, Kallis and steyn. Take these players out of SA then you'll see the difference."

Well you might as well have said that Australia were never a great team because they relied too heavily on Warne, Mcgrath and Ponting.

Posted by icknid on (February 18, 2013, 20:42 GMT)

Much has been said about Irfan recently, and I truly believe that he only performed to 60% of his real potential in this test match. I also think that he would have gained a great deal of confidence if the Pakistan think tank had enough faith to give him the new ball - how can you pass it to someone bowling at just over 120kph? I know what the SA batsmen would have preferred! He has great dignity even when taking wickets - no arrogance and disrespect. I look forward to seeing him bowl again.

Posted by KingOwl on (February 18, 2013, 20:24 GMT)

He is 30 years OLD? Where was he up to now?

Posted by   on (February 18, 2013, 20:23 GMT)

I don't know why mostly people are after Gul. . I think he is the best bowler fast bowler at this time Pakistan have. You cannot judge Junaid or Irfan on the basis of 2/3 matches. I am in favour of keeping Gul and rotate other two as required.

Posted by uzairamir on (February 18, 2013, 20:22 GMT)

wait once other teams make a new complete team south africa will have some challenge currently mostly all the teams have their old players gone and the teams are in remaking process once that is done southafrica will have some competition.the teams in remaking are India,Pakistan,srilanka,newzealand,westindies,australia.once these teams are strengthened some of south africas players would have to retire and south africa would be in weakened state

Posted by ToTellUTheTruth on (February 18, 2013, 19:56 GMT)

It was a great sight to see him bowl though!!! And he did hurry all the batsmen with every ball. What a fearful sight of the ball coming down at you from almost at 11 feet? Yikes, and with some pace too. And he did not even over exert himself!!!! Give him a wicket with some pace and Pak WK can double up as a 3rd man too!!! Can't wait to see him go full tilt at SAffers with Junaid. Gul did bowl well. so, not sure why these calls to drop him.

Posted by uzairamir on (February 18, 2013, 19:38 GMT)

why doesnt the board understand that these gul and others are just relics of the past and they need to develop new team drop gul and give ehsan adil a chance because these young guys are the future of pakistan cricket

Posted by shahzadparacha on (February 18, 2013, 19:35 GMT)

Imagine if Muhammad Aamir is back. Then this Pakistan attack will have Muhammad Aamir, Junaid Khan, Muhammad Irfan and Saeed Ajmal.

Go and play against them if they all play.

Posted by mazii on (February 18, 2013, 19:33 GMT)

edgie....SA were lucky enough to win the last test match. We all know that Misbah's tactics cost Pakistan the game. And what you've to say about changing the ball when the changed ball was 55 overs old and then a 30 overs old ball was introduced. Yes SA is no 1 team but they are not a great team. SA rely too heavily upon three three players AMLA, Kallis and steyn. Take these players out of SA then you'll see the difference.Yes Pakistan also rely on Ajmal. The reality is that wrong selection cost us the match. Well what I've to say about that. I must say Pakistan again snatched the defeat from jaws of victory. Also Junaid wasn't there. Anyhow no excuses Pakistan played negative cricket rather than SA played tremendous cricket.

Posted by shak90 on (February 18, 2013, 18:57 GMT)

In my opinion, top order needs also change, may try Imran Farhat instead of Jamshed. Gul should be rested and we should play Abdur Rehman and Junaid. Should call Adnan for WK, at least for a try. We need WK to contribute at least 30-40 runs. I think there is a need for our batsmen to play county cricket in england to get experience of playing in seam conditions, which they are regularly failing. Remember the team with Zaheer Abbas, Imran Khan, Miandad, Majid Khan and many others playing county cricket and handle seam conditions around the world.

Posted by Sports4Youth on (February 18, 2013, 18:32 GMT)

The successful debute of Irfan is a great news. But still no news about Junaid's fitness. I hope he will be fit by the 3rd test. Also I hope Gul is dropped in favor of young Adil. Since the Centurion wicket is likely to be pacey and not assist spinnners the Pakistani attack is likely to be Junaid, Irfan, Gul & Ajmal. Though I would prefer Junaid, Irfan, Adil & Ajmal.


Posted by Beertjie on (February 18, 2013, 18:18 GMT)

Two lefties (if Irfan can sort out his run up) can create rough for Ajmal, but Centurion will seam and Steyn, Philander, etc will destroy the Pakistan batting again. Best to experiment. Let Hafeez bat at 7 and drop Sarfaraz (ask Younis to keep wicket): Farhat, Azhar, Jamshed, Shafiq, Misbah, Younis, Hafeez, Ehsan Adil, Ajmal, Junaid, Irfan. Take a risk and plan for revenge in UAE!

Posted by romirom on (February 18, 2013, 18:13 GMT)

he is a good fast bowler. Pak has decent bowling attack But pak can't win games until and unless they will not have good wicket keeper batsman. Sarfaraj is just a wicket keper. I think akmals brother are better than him. Even pak can try other young wk like mohamad rizwan. He has decent fc record and he is young 2.

Posted by edgie on (February 18, 2013, 18:04 GMT)

Good find is Irfan, but he needs more time and experience, and specailly needs to work on his fielding, or lack thereof. however everyone is moaning that SA were close to defeat are really just being petty and sore losers. SA beat pakistan, and with a day to spare. no matter how u look at it, it was comprehensive, specailly when you look at where pakistan were in the 2nd innings, and collapsed so pathetically. South africa could have collapsed in their first innings and concede a big 1st innings deficit, but they didn't and that is the hallmark of a no 1 team, to turn a hopeless situation into a winning one. Yes, they lost those wickets in the second innings, but really, they were in control all the time, and never look like loosing it, specailly while AB and Amla where scoring rapidly. Pakistan have made a good account for themselves, but beating a team as strong as SA was always going to need more than just one world class spinner and one 7ft bowler...

Posted by Crick_Expert on (February 18, 2013, 18:01 GMT)

Imran Farhat should be in team as Wicketkeeper. Misbah is not a fighting Capt. He should leave his place. PAK lost both tests due to weak batting. They should add more bastmen in the team.

Posted by   on (February 18, 2013, 17:50 GMT)

it was a decent debut, took 3 wickets, could have taken 2 more but no balls, & need to sort this no ball issue, he was pretty ok in odis in india otherwise 6-7 free hits would have been shocking. Overall bowled well and ecnomical which is a good thing.

Agree should have been selected in 1st test, dont know why misbah saying he wasnt ready. if he wasnt then why he was on tour.

though pak will play to avoid whitewash , i would prefer trying ehsan adil instead og gul and junaid will come for tanveer fo sure. just to try why ehsan adil was selected but i dont think it will happen.

Posted by   on (February 18, 2013, 17:49 GMT)

Sarfaraz has to be sent back to home and he should never considered for Squads. I still Belive Kamran is the only wicket keeper batsman pakistan has this moment or get Umar Akmal atleast. Why Tanvir in the team.. I felt bad for Wahab who has impressive domestic season. Kindly bring Adur Rehman in 3rd test. My XI would be for 3rd test is 1. Hafeez 2. Jamshed / Farhat. 3. Azhar 4. Younis 5. Misbah 6. Asad 7.New Keeper 8. Rehman 9. Ajmal 10. Irfan 11. Junaid

Posted by uzairamir on (February 18, 2013, 17:44 GMT)

you cannot play two spinners in south africa you just cannot because mostly you get a seaming wicket and that cape town one you cant expect it again.In the first test saeed ajmal failed and if abdur rehman was there he would also fail so 2 bowlers gone to waste

Posted by uzairamir on (February 18, 2013, 17:41 GMT)

if he could bowl yorkers and fuller he can be very dangerous and also give the guy some time its his first test

Posted by uzairamir on (February 18, 2013, 17:40 GMT)

now gul should be dropped and ehsan adil should be given a chance and gul should be permenentaly dropped and another youngster should take his place

Posted by SirViv1973 on (February 18, 2013, 17:36 GMT)

So many comments from Pak fans regarding the non selection of Rehman for this game. Even with the pitch being as dry as it was it would have been a huge gamble to have gone with 2 spinners in a 4 man attack against this SAF team in SAF, particularly when one of the 2 seamers was making his debut and also bearing in mind the hammering Pak received in the first Test. I would therefore suggest that the balme dosen't lay with the non selection of Rehman but more with Pak batting collapse in the 2nd inns. At 114-3 they were in a position where they should have gone on and got a match winning lead of 250 plus instead they lost thie last 7 wickets for 55 runs and that was the final turning point in a tight well fought out test match.

Posted by   on (February 18, 2013, 17:17 GMT)

There was a golden opportunity to win this test but quick wickets fall make diffrend.Pakistan need a good wicket keeper & offcourse a good opening partnership.In bowling department Gul should be replaced.He is not in form.

Posted by   on (February 18, 2013, 17:10 GMT)

Poor Abdur Rahman. So much talent; such an impressive record but almost always ignored by selectors. No wonder he takes recreaional puffs, once in a while. He needs to drown his sorrows somehow. The way Hafeez bats, Pakistan has nothing to lose by having Rahman open the innings; he scores a duck (Hafiz does that always) and then cause nightmare with his bowling. Imagine Ajmal at one end and Rahman at the other. Boy, batsmen would be wetting their whites for sure.

Posted by drnaveed on (February 18, 2013, 17:09 GMT)

it was a big mistake made by the team management of Pakistan of not including ABbdur Rehman in the playing eleven in place of tanveer, yes he would have made a definite impact on the outcome of this test match had he been there. we need a beeter wk keeper batsman than sarfaraz.can we call some other keeper in his place for the third test of this series.

Posted by getsetgopk on (February 18, 2013, 17:05 GMT)

He has a good 4 to 5 years of cricket in him and will serve Pakistan well. The fitness concerns some people have about Irfan, to that end I'll say, the guy has worked in a pipe factory, fitness isn't going to be that of a bigger issue for him. I believe the time has come that we move beyond Umar Gul. He has served Pak well but at test level you need real strike bowlers that can snatch wickets one way or the other and Gul hasn't been that bowler. He can still be an asset in limited overs cricket though but for tests we need to blood in new bowlers to partner Junaid and Irfan. Ehsan Adil should be given a chance in the next match, there is no use of Gul and his ten years of experience.

Posted by dmqi on (February 18, 2013, 16:59 GMT)

I agree with one comment that Rehman with Ajaml would possibly won the match or could bring it the nail biting end. But the main problem is Pak batting. 3/4 scores under 10 do not help. Another 50 runs could give Pak the match. So, it is more on the batsmen than on the bowlers.

Posted by Omer.Iftikhar on (February 18, 2013, 16:56 GMT)

Certainly Irfan was head and shoulders (pun not intended) above the rest of the pace attack, who I feel should take the blame for Pakistan losing from a fantastic position on day 3. Umar Gul looked exhausted, and Tanvir may as well not have bowled. I would suggest that Pakistan go in with Junaid Khan and Irfan for the third test, and select either Ehsan Adil or Abdur Rehman based on the pitch. This will give Gul some well deserved rest before the T20s and ODIs.

Posted by drnaveed on (February 18, 2013, 16:44 GMT)

it was a big mistake made by the team management of Pakistan of not including ABbdur Rehman in the playing eleven in place of tanveer, yes he would have made a definite impact on the outcome of this test match had he been there. we need a beeter wk keeper batsman than sarfaraz.can we call some other keeper in his place for the third test of this series.

Posted by   on (February 18, 2013, 16:43 GMT)

I do think Pakistan had a great opportunity here but blew it...They had good lead from first inning but due to poor selection they couldn't get the wickets...I don't know why Misbah didn't try Hafiz in the the second inning early with new ball to get some wickets and again when he and Azhar was in they couldn't put any runs in and kept increasing the pressure...this is typical Misbah block block don't score and put all the pressure on the incoming who are always in a hurry to go back to the dressing room. At least now people in Karachi can be happy that Sarfaraz and Tanvir should be discarded at the first opportunity because Sarfaraz couldn't keep and Tanvir couldn't bowl or bat.Umar Gul should retire and not waste a place in the team, only Gul is left dozer is long gone.

Posted by CaptainKool on (February 18, 2013, 16:34 GMT)

He is not fit for tests and because of his height, he is not quick either in fielding.

Posted by Vega_bond on (February 18, 2013, 16:18 GMT)

he really bowl well but misbah dont utilize him properly..but he shows that he has test temprament...and i hope misbah choose him for 3rd test and i hope pak won that match...

Posted by Zahidsaltin on (February 18, 2013, 16:07 GMT)

Inclusion of Rehman in this second test could have won it for Pakistan. Misbah and the coach are to be blamed.

Posted by Zahidsaltin on (February 18, 2013, 16:05 GMT)

Firdose, I have a tricky question for some one to give us an answer. Why is it so that time and again we the fan who to the utmost have played only club cricket tend to recommend better decisions regarding team selections. I saw that every fan recommended Adnan Akmal to be included as keeper, then I saw every one wanting to have Irfan included in the first test and lately every one screaming on these pages to have the team management deciding to include Abdul Rehman in the second test. Why is it so that the management always pretend to know everything but then gets proved to be ignorant. Irfan has played eight 4-day matches not so long ago and I have seen him bowled up to 30 overs in an innings there but still they don't consider him fit. Who should be accountable for playing Rahat and Irfan in the first and then playing Tanveer with 120+ instead od Rehman. Don't you think, inclusion of Rehman could have changed a lot in the match??

Posted by SICHO on (February 18, 2013, 15:56 GMT)

not really impressed by the 7 footer, why? Well he only gives 4 good overs at the beginning of his and after that he's just pathetic like all other Pakistan pacers. Pakistan only have one good bowler, and that a spinner Saeed Ajmal.

Posted by likeintcricket on (February 18, 2013, 15:43 GMT)

Honestly I expected Pakistan to Draw the Test Series atleast. I still believe they have a team to beat SA.The only Problem is the Team selection and players availability. Misbah did this mistake twice in a row. He has to learn from Imran and LLoyd that to win a match you need to select the Match winners not players like GUL and Tanvir. If Hafiz can take 4 wickets against them in the first Test than Rehman can do a lot more being a world class spinner. Our best bowling side is Junaid, Irfan, Rehman and Ajmal. They could have made it more contesting in the first Test but certaily they should have won the Second Test. Also I don't think Hafiz can handle top class swing bowling and he should make way for a left hander. I only wish if Aamir and Asif playing with Irfan, Junaid and Ajmal.

Posted by   on (February 18, 2013, 15:26 GMT)

Irfan was impressive but he could not bowl consistently at the lengths which were troubling for batsmen. apart from rising deliveries that were always expected of him he bowled a good fuller length which seemed to trouble batsmen. if he is able to adjust his lengths on the centurian wicket, it will be a really good contest.

Posted by SurlyCynic on (February 18, 2013, 15:10 GMT)

I thought he was good to watch, and certainly troubled the batsmen more than Trundler Tanvir.

@Anas Khan - there is no test at Durban, only Centurion (Pretoria).

Posted by PAKISTANiLive on (February 18, 2013, 15:07 GMT)

Great Bowler, a lot quicker than I thought, Hope Pak will win 3rd Test!

Posted by foursandsixes on (February 18, 2013, 14:54 GMT)

Why do you say this: "Whatever the outcome, Misbah-ul-Haq's men can leave knowing they gave a good account of themselves." Currently losing the series 0-2, with a complete debacle in the first. RSA aren't that great that showing some fight is a good account in itself. A good outcome will be at least one win, which is what we expect.

Posted by   on (February 18, 2013, 14:51 GMT)

Of course his presence is a big psycological effect on the opposition. He is a very cool guy with great sports spirit. We didnt see him struggling with his spells as far as his fitness is concerned, Though he may not be good in the field as he allowed the batsmen to score 3 where they could score 2. Would love to see him along with Junaid at Centurian. That could trouble the Saffers batsmen.

Posted by   on (February 18, 2013, 14:51 GMT)

No doubt he is an asset for Pakistan Cricket and have expectation to do some great performance in Durban Test and in future... i have to say that in presence of Junaid, Irfan, Saeed Ajmal and Guli :) it's the best bowling side....and PAKISTAN will win DURBAN test ..... and expected not to make mistake again they made before..

Posted by mthi4life on (February 18, 2013, 14:45 GMT)

He will be a handful at Centurion.But the Proteas fear Ajmal more than any bowler in the Pakistani line up.Even if he will be their most dangerous bowler SA can handle him.

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