Pakistan in South Africa 2012-13

Not much to take home for Pakistan

ESPNcricinfo assesses the Pakistan team that toured South Africa

Firdose Moonda

February 25, 2013

Comments: 52 | Text size: A | A

Pakistan were not able to keep the same batting or bowling line-ups for the three Tests as a spate of injuries and a few illnesses hit their squad. None of their batsmen were able to negotiate the new ball and their attack could not sustain pressure on South Africa. Having lost all three matches, two by substantial margins, it's unsurprising that few of their players stood out.

Azhar Ali avoids a short ball, South Africa v Pakistan, 2nd Test, Cape Town, 3rd day, February 16, 2013
It was a torrid tour for Pakistan's batsmen © AFP


Asad Shafiq 3 Tests, 199 runs @ 33.16, 1 hundred, 1 fifty, 3 catches Pakistan's highest run-scorer of the series displayed strong temperament at Newlands when he partnered Younis Khan in the highest stand by visiting batsmen in South Africa in seven years. His century showed his ability to deal with the short ball and dig in for a prolonged period. He did not have any other scores of substance in the series and contributed to Pakistan's batting woes, although his catching was sharp.


Younis Khan 3 Tests, 184 runs @ 30.66, 1 hundred, 3 catches As the most experienced member of Pakistan's side, Younis only showed what that means in the second Test. He was at Shafiq's side and in their best stand of the series and played an important role in ushering him to his century. Younis' hundred was of equal importance and as much patience but he could not see off the second new-ball and that proved crucial. He did not make another score of too much significance which dented Pakistan's hopes severely. His slip catching was mostly solid, although he did drop one in Cape Town which proved costly.

Saeed Ajmal 3 Tests 11 for 365 @ 33.18, 1 catch On surfaces that were not going to suit him, Saeed Ajmal was expected to struggle and he was negated at both Johannesburg and Centurion. But he put in a performance in Cape Town that underlines his status as the best tweaker in the world. He took South Africa's first six wickets with a potent mix of turn and guile and returned in the second innings to claim four more. He may have been left wondering what would have been if Pakistan had more runs in Cape Town and he could have bowled last on a cracked Centurion track but until the sides meet again later in the year, those will only be what-ifs.


Azhar Ali 3 Tests, 133 runs @ 22.16, 1 fifty, 2 catches Pakistan's No. 3 looked out of his depth until the second innings at Newlands when he was again under pressure because of the openers, but did not succumb to it. In his solid 65, he also displayed glimpses of patience and power but lost concentration to lose his wicket. His only other contribution was a 27 when he opened at Centurion.

Misbah-ul-Haq 3 Tests, 135 runs @ 22.50, 1 fifty The captain led the fightback in Johannesburg with the first half-century of the series for Pakistan but he could not kick on. A habit of playing silly shots, such as the fending off a short ball in the first innings at Newlands and the pop up to short fine leg in the second, cost him but he also appeared as uncomfortable with the conditions as many of his colleagues. Misbah tried to say the right things and campaign for Pakistan to play more Tests and return home but it was obvious his biggest problem was on the field where he could not get his men to apply themselves.


Junaid Khan 1 Test, 2 for 96 @ 48.00 For the 18 overs he bowled in the first innings at the Wanderers, Junaid Khan looked to be Pakistan's go-to man for the series. He maintained accuracy, bowled at good pace and was rewarded. He could conjure up none of the same magic in the second innings and that was the last that was seen of him in the Tests. Junaid sustained a mysterious thigh wound, which the team manager Naved Cheema explained occurred when he slipped and the skin did not heal in time for either Cape Town or Centurion. Rumours of a hamstring injury were denied by Cheema.

Imran Farhat 1 Test, 73 runs @ 36.50 Farhat replaced Nasir Jamshed at Centurion and for a while, it looked the right decision. He was strong on the drive and got a start in both innings but seemed to reach a point where he got bored and began chasing deliveries. He was part of Pakistan's best opening partnership of the series and showed some ability to deal with bounce that could have been used earlier in the rubber.

Saeed Ajmal celebrates the wicket of Dean Elgar, South Africa v Pakistan, 2nd Test, Cape Town, 3rd day, February 16, 2013
Saeed Ajmal was at his best in Cape Town © AFP


Mohammad Irfan 2 Tests, 3 for 201 @ 67.00 The find of the series, Mohammed Irfan, showed what Pakistan can look forward to in the future. At over seven feet, he was able to extract steep bounce, even on a tame Newlands pitch and his bouncer will be the source of great fear for many batsmen. He tired fairly quickly though and will need to work on coming back strongly in later spells and doing so less waywardly. He did not get to bowl at the Wanderers but that may have been where his skills could have been best displayed.


Rahat Ali 2 Tests, 6 for 227 @ 37.83 After a forgettable debut at the Wanderers, where he was expensive and went wicket-less, Rahat Ali came back to take six at Centurion. Even there, he could not keep a lid on run-scoring and benefitted from some loose strokes but showed he could persist on a good length. He also had cheeky lower-order run-scoring ability which could make him one to groom for the future.

Umar Gul 2 Tests, 5 for 234 @ 46.80, 2 catches He is supposed to lead the Pakistan attack but Umar Gul only did that in patches in Johannesburg. In the first innings, he extracted good movement and caused problems for South Africa but he tapered off as the match and series went on. Gul took two of South Africa's three wickets in the second dig at the Wanderers but managed only one wicket at Newlands where he was also expensive. High fever kept him out of the third Test in Centurion.


Ehsan Adil 1 Test, 2 for 54 @ 27.00 At only 19-years old, Ehsan Adil was thrown in at the deep when he had to replace an ill Umar Gul in the third Test. He took a wicket in his first over and another later on to make his mark on the game. He is more medium-pace than quick but has clever use of movement that Pakistan will want to make use of in future.


Sarfraz Ahmed 3 Tests, 83 runs @13.83, 8 catches The Pakistan wicketkeeper waited until his last innings to show he could bat the way his 92 in the first tour match suggested. He put on a confident 40 with frustrated the South African seamers as they went in search of a series sweep. Prior to that innings, he only lengthened the tail to make Pakistan's batting job more difficult. He let through 22 byes in the series, which left some calling for the return of Kamran Akmal or Adnan Akmal.


Mohammad Hafeez 3 Tests, 43 runs @ 7.16, 5 for 107 @21.40, 3 catches In his job as an opener, Hafeez failed. He did not see off the new ball, in fact if he saw it at all many would be surprised. Hafeez had two ducks and two scores in double figures but his highest was a paltry 18. Four out of six times, he was caught behind the stumps and the remaining two, a victim of Dale Steyn as he struggled to deal with the lengths employed in South Africa and the pace. In all, he scored only five runs off Steyn and was dismissed by him four times. Although underutilised with the ball, that was where he made his biggest impact, when he took four for 16 with the second new ball in Johannesburg to ensure South Africa were dismissed for 253.

Nasir Jamshed 2 Tests, 51 runs @ 12.75, 1 catch With the young opener's debut much anticipated, he lived up to the hype with a composed 46 in the first Test. There, Jamshed had a measure of the new ball and the conditions but threw his wicket away as he tried to reach a milestone with a glory shot. Dav Whatmore was livid with him and would have been even more annoyed after his performance at Newlands. Two single-figure scores resulted in him being dropped for the third Test, perhaps unfairly so. He will definitely be back but will have to develop his technique in the meanwhile.


Tanvir Ahmed 1 Test, 1 for 60 @ 60.00 The 34-year-old seamer's selection remains a mystery. Apart from inaccuracy, his pace rarely got out of the 120s and his habit of overstepping (in a big way) was worrying. His best contribution in the series was the 44 he scored in Cape Town which bolstered the Pakistan total even though it should never have been left up to him to do that.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Sports4Youth on (February 28, 2013, 10:42 GMT)

@ Solid_Snake :;spanmax1=14+Feb+2007;spanval1=span;template=results;type=bowling

Provided here above is the break-up of Umar Gul's performance. In the period of 2003-2007 he has taken just 61 wickets at an avg of 30.62 & eco 3.56. Please notice that even in this period he was bowling as the third bowler, behind Shoeb Akhtar & M.Asif and later on he was behind M.Amir & M.Asif. Now Junaid Khan is easily considered a better bowler than him. Just consider, why is it that in about a years time all the younger bowlers become better than him & he is not improving at all ? I tell you if a bowler cannot improve after 10 years of international experience, then he will never improve. Soon Irfan, Rahat & Adil will become better bowlers than him.


Posted by Sports4Youth on (February 28, 2013, 10:33 GMT)

@ Solid_snake --> please check in this list where U.Gul, W.Riaz & M.Sami are languishing. Sorted by avg.

Sadaf Hussain (age-23) taken 171 wickets at an avg of 17.43

Samiullah Khan (30) has taken 373 wics @ 18.79

Ehsan Adil (19) has taken 59 wics @ 18.94

Rahat Ali (24) has taken 152 wics @ 21

Junaid Khan (23) has taken 246 wics @ 21.86 and Test matches 29 wics @ 28

Bilawal Bhatt (21) has taken 204 wics @ 22.13

Asad Ali - (24) has taken 355 wics @ 22.87

M. Irfan - (30) has taken 131 wics @ 26.23

Anwar Ali (25) has taken 260 wics @ 27.46

W. Riaz - (27) has taken 320 wics @ 28.19 - & Test matches 17 wics @ 34.11

Umar Gul (29) has taken 326 wics @ 28.26 - & Test matches 162 wics @ 34.06

M.Talha - (24) has taken 239 wics @ 28.39

M.Sami - (32) has taken 479 wics @ 29.28 - & Test matches 85 wics @ 52.74

Now please think and decide of GUL, W.RIAZ & M.Sami deserve to be in the team or the other guys above them deserve to be in the team. PACE IS NOT EVERYTHING.


Posted by Solid_Snake on (February 28, 2013, 7:51 GMT)

@Sports4Youth->From 2003-2007..Gull was a decent Test bowler.He used to take wickets regularly & troubling all batsmen.After that his performance went down & today he is totally out of form & not fit for test matches.He has got Pace but no control at all.I dont know how things change when he moves from test to T20..He starts producing yorkers one after another in T20..Good line & length.But in Test he act as if it's he forgot how to bowl

Posted by javed.agrawala on (February 28, 2013, 6:30 GMT)

Revamping is necessary. Playing on bowler friendly tracks requires grooming and a 50 at Joburg is far better than 300 at Multan! Inzi was so afraid that despite being the best batsman never had the courage to promote himself and stand up when the going was really difficult. Mcgrath found him out time and again in Australia! Hafeez does not have the technique to face Steyn and Co. Six failures out of six and he maintains that his performance was ok in the circumstances! Whom is he kidding? His opening should be roundly criticized as it put pressure on the later order batsman who were also poor. So what is answer? Remove Misbah as he is not good enough as a batsman. Invest in the future by removing Hafeez from the opening position. He will score hugely in the ME again but that just misguides you! Unfortunately he was grossly underbowled following the first test and his true merit could not be fairly ascertained. Besides Hafeez is an attacking batsman and is likely to score lower down.

Posted by Sports4Youth on (February 27, 2013, 17:17 GMT)

@ Solid_Snake :- SADAF HUSSAIN is not in Pak team becuase selectors think that pace is the only virtue required at the test level. Also Also Samiullah should have been in the test team long ago. They dont admire people like McGrath, Kapil, Philander etc. According to them anyone who can show pace or even the promise of pace should be in pak team, irrespective of their first class perfmance, average & strike rates. Regarding Gul I disagree with you that he was a good test bowler. His test average was always around 33, now it is 34. Even is FC avg is close to 29.

Posted by   on (February 27, 2013, 16:29 GMT)

completely agree with Solid_Snake. i just do not understand why sadaf hussain is ignoring continusly. he is just 24 and magition bowler..

Posted by Solid_Snake on (February 27, 2013, 14:42 GMT)

I dont understand why Sadaf Hussain is invisible from our selectors??? Why why why...Gull is not fit for test matches.Our team has ruined that guy..Gull was a decent test bowler in the start.But then he was made a T20 specialist bowler..He is good for T20 & ODI's only..Should give chance to others instead of trying Gull again & again

Posted by Sports4Youth on (February 27, 2013, 14:17 GMT)

After this dismal effort of UMAR GUL in SA we would hope that the selectors will finally drop him. But somehow this does not happen in Pakistan. As we see now in the ODI's Wahab Riaz is back.

Understanding Misbah, I think that Wahab & Gul may get to play all the matches, thus leaving only one spot for Irfan/Junaid and blocking out any other younsters in the team.

At this rate what do you expect to improve in the Pakistani pace bowling department. below you can see the First class and Test performances of Gul & Riaz. Also I should mention M.Sami who averages 29.28 in First Class and 52.74 in Test matches. And the selectors want to keep bringing him back.

In the India series it was Sohail Tanvir. In the SL series it was both S.Tanvir & M.Sami and so on. How long will we see this rotation and recycliing of failures. Why cant the selectors move on when we have yougsters having bowling averages below and around 20.


Posted by   on (February 27, 2013, 1:18 GMT)

--- Influence of the Captain ---- Whole team plays in the mode how Misbah plays (i.e. defensive). You can leave 50 balls but you would definitely get one or two good balls on which you would get out. As you are not disturbing the line of the bowler or not forcing him to think differently.

Posted by Sports4Youth on (February 26, 2013, 16:31 GMT)

@ SillyMid0n :

Azhar Ali started his test career in 2010 against Australia & England both the series were played in England. Back then he had shown some promise. But this time I must admit that he has dissapoined big time. In this series the only player to show some quality and promise was Asad Shafiq and the rest of the cast was useless.


Posted by Sports4Youth on (February 26, 2013, 16:26 GMT)

Just take a look at the Pakistani fast bowling first class performers

Sadaf Hussain (age-23) taken 171 wickets at an avg of 17.43

Samiullah Khan (30) has taken 373 wics @ 18.79

Ehsan Adil (19) has taken 59 @ 18.94

Rahat Ali (24) has taken 152 @ 21

Junaid Khan (23) has taken 246 @ 21.86 and Test matches 29 wics @ 28

Bilawal Bhatt (21) has taken 204 wics @ 22.13

Asad Ali (24) has taken 355 wics @ 22.87

M. Irfan (30) has taken 131 wics @ 26.23

Anwar Ali (25) has taken 260 wics @ 27.46

W. Riaz - (27) has taken 320 wics @ 28.19 - & Test matches 17 wics @ 34.11

Umar Gul (29) has taken 326 wics @ 28.26 - & Test matches 162 wics @ 34.06

M. Talha (24) has taken 239 @ 28.39

Now please think and decide of GUL & W.RIAZ deserve to be in the team or the other guys above them deserve to be in the team.


Posted by SillyMid0n on (February 26, 2013, 14:41 GMT)

I just can't believe how people are in favor of Azhar Ali's selection. This guy is a very low quality batsman, does not have any shots, no ability to place the ball and rotate strike. All he can play is a defensive stroke. It was extremely painful to see him uncomfortable and not able to get runs even against the very mediocre left-arm bowling of Robin Peterson. The commentators on Sky sports rightly said about him that his inability to rotate striking adding more pressure on the batting line. He has been tested enough and should be shown the door to improve (if he can).

Posted by haseeb72 on (February 26, 2013, 13:29 GMT)

I am pakistani and I support my team no matter SA whitewashed Pak and for your kind information not only pak loss the series but earlier Aussies and Kiwis also loss the series in the same manner in SA so no need to get dissappointed, pak will come up again soon ! Pak Zindabad

Posted by   on (February 26, 2013, 11:01 GMT)

The Pakistani's weakness against the moving ball caught them out on the test series. Still unsure why they only had one practice match though. We knew it was a very tough series and a longer build-up was required. Imran Farhat batted nicely in the 3rd test. I'd like to see 3 Openers used. Rameez Raja is correct. Imran Farhat/Mo.Hafeez opening. Azhar Ali at 3. younus at 4, Misbah at 5 and Asad at 6. Umar Akmal for the number 7 and Wicketkeeping duties. Athletic, talented batsman who has the ability to 'Keep' in Tests. the biggest disappointment was Umar Gul. Really poor performance. Lacked genuine pace and control. And the non-selection of Abdur Rehman.

Posted by   on (February 26, 2013, 9:26 GMT)

Not sure why Pakistan didn't use Faisal as a keeper batsmen... he has kept before, if I remember correctly. It should also extend his Pakistan career as well

Posted by   on (February 26, 2013, 8:22 GMT)

pak bowling 1 out of 5 & batting 1 out of 5. onli ajmal perform ajmal in the bolling & asad or younus khan in the batting. africa`s batting mind blowing & bat also i give Him 10 out of 10.

Posted by gsingh7 on (February 26, 2013, 8:14 GMT)

not much to take home except the disappointment of whitewash and getting comprehensively beaten in every facet of game, this is bad for moral of team who play very little cricket. also pak ranking slipped down india and if sl win bangla then pak cud be 6th in ranking at end of that tour.

Posted by getsetgopk on (February 26, 2013, 8:06 GMT)

Hafeez 43 runs from 6 test innings is a disgrace, but worse than that is that he's been promoted as the vice captain of the side. The rest didn't do too ok either but the one that stands out is Hafeez. The conditions weren't perfect for him but he had a four and a half inch wood work in his hand and 43 runs would rather suggest he had instead a 2 inch blade. Pathetic.

Posted by Solid_Snake on (February 26, 2013, 7:56 GMT)

@vish2020->Giving the examples of those 2...Both of the mentioned batsmen were kicked out of the team & fans are giving their examples here lol.Happy dreaming of those old days.& after that try to watch the highlights of India's last tour to England & Australia.It'l help bringing back fans to the present & showing that these 2 batsmen are better or the team Ireland's batsmen :)

Posted by din7 on (February 26, 2013, 7:08 GMT)

well played SA and also pak, no need to bah pak, their battin failed expectedly, their bowlin is quite new and inexperienced, it will take time, they could have won in newlands but for poor selection they lost, also their main seamer junaid played only 1 test considering all that pak didnt play that badly. Well talk abt UAE series, its goin to be interestin hwo they willl play ajmal on dust bowls is going to detrmine the series, i think pak will win or it will be draw, Sa can play spin well but playin ajmal is differnt than playin mediocre spinner like ashwin (im indian for all fumin)

Posted by   on (February 26, 2013, 6:41 GMT)

please misbah announce your retirement for pakistan,pakistan cricket and for pakistans fans.

Posted by   on (February 26, 2013, 4:34 GMT)

Pak could have won 2nd test if they had played 2nd spinner Rehman. Tanvir was a waste. Rehman has been doing well along with Ajmal. Anyways I dont understand selection logic. One more thing, Old senior players shud not play this blame game & put all trash on Whatmore. At the end of the day player has to go & play in the ground. Pak lacked initial match practice which shud have been there. Whatmore shud stay there. Pak has been winning earlier & will win again IA. Few adjustment in selection needs to be done.

Posted by RaadQ on (February 26, 2013, 1:17 GMT)

Before the series, and now, I will say that Hafeez should be demoted to #4 position, he cannot play quality swing bowling. Azhar Ali should be promoted, even if he gets 10 runs from 50 balls, at least he will help negate the swing for the middle order! Pak have a status quo habit, and they keep playing ajmal in seam-pitches (1st and 3rd test). He is great bowler, but he cant perform in these conditions [especially against Saffers]. I also don't know why the 145 kmph Wahab Riaz, with ability to swing both ways and reverse swing, didn't play on seam-friendly pitches where he performs well. Also, why doesn't cricinfo rate umpires? Steve Davies and Bowden had a shock series, and seemed a bit bias to me, every onfield marginal decision favoured Saffers. Regardless of these issues, I still think Saffers dominated overall, and would have won the first and last test regardless.

Posted by dontlikecricket on (February 26, 2013, 0:25 GMT)

I think SA will do reasonably well in UAE especially if their fast bowlers keep line and length. There is not much swing and bounce in UAE even with the new ball (as well as other Asian countries), so it will be interesting to see how SA will adapt. On the other hand even in UAE, PAK batsmen struggled against ENG bowlers. The big difference however SA dont have Swan and Panasar so it will be intereting to see how Imran Tahir will perform for SA. I am not sure who will win in UAE, I think it will be a close sereis and PAK may win 1-0, however they will have to play extremely well. SA has really good batsmen and they are capable of scoring runs against spin dont be surprised if SA win even in UAE, they are best in the world and mentally very tough!!! PAK fans stop making excuses, just accept the fact that PAK has never been good playing on fast/green tops, either is SA or AUS!!

Posted by sal80 on (February 26, 2013, 0:14 GMT)

I dnt think so SA will be bigh threat for Pakistan if they play in UAE or in pakistan in near future, Bec SA is at its best since long time when they play in there home ground or seamers friendly condition

Posted by vish2020 on (February 25, 2013, 23:30 GMT)

Pakistan were riding on the hopes of Nasir Jamshed and comparing with Sehway and Gautam from old days. well, against world no. 1 the whole team looked like Ireland deserved instead for an invite haha

Posted by t20cric on (February 25, 2013, 22:33 GMT)

Looking forward to the T20 series cuz Pakistan can beat SA especially if they play how they did in the T20 wc where they couldn't beat any team in the group stage. People should seriously stop arguing about Pakistan being whitewashed cuz its over now and the results can't be reversed. There is not much shame in losing to the best test team. Also there is no point in discussing so much about the outcome of the UAE test series but it is obvious that Pakistan have a better chance there then they had here.

Posted by HellDiver on (February 25, 2013, 20:51 GMT)

I'm not sure Pakistan can reverse the results in UAE. A strong team can beat any opposition anywhere and this SA team is one of the best. In 2002 a powerful Australian team handed a pasting to Pakistan in SL and UAE. While Pakistan should be justifiably proud of their achievement in beating England 3-0 last year, it should be noted that 2 of those games were very close. SA seem much stronger than England though England did have 2 high quality spinners that SA lack. Still, SA should start out as strong favorites even in UAE. Hopefully it should be a much closer series than what just transpired.

Posted by   on (February 25, 2013, 20:19 GMT)

Pakistan marks out of 10 from me is 3. This is the breakdown for the marks. Batting= I big 0

Bowling= 3 out of 5

South Africa's marks out of 10 is 9.

Batting- 4 out of 5 Bowling- 5 out of 5

Posted by crashed on (February 25, 2013, 20:12 GMT)

@cricketkhan I rather have the current SA team as the CURRENT BEST than a great from the past - I think you will see reason to what I am trying to say :) May SA reign for a long time

Posted by Testcricketistop on (February 25, 2013, 19:51 GMT)

The last time we played Pakistan in the UAE we didn't have much trouble against their spinners then.

Ajmal in the first test bowled 62 overs for 3/197

Posted by THE_MIZ on (February 25, 2013, 19:18 GMT)

@ Papa_Tango, I agree with SurlyCynic...It's not only about averages. As he said, Ajmal had two disappointing tests and one (potentially) match-winning performance ...tying down batsmen is not good enough... ask a certain Paul Harris or even petersen. Great bowler but you'd expect more from the world no.1 spinner.

Posted by   on (February 25, 2013, 18:56 GMT)

on talks about UAE, i dont think it will be that easy for SA, and also it will not be that easy for PAkistan. UAE wickets and even SL wickets do support good fast bowling. Like we seen in england tour broad, anderson got wickets every innings. & SA has good quality accurate fast bowlers. SA may be troubled more in india as indian pitches are more turning than UAE/SL.

Added with that their top 5 are very much good players of spin. past is past 2010 series, that was flat tracks as pak wa too defensive after england disaster. they will make turning pitches like england but it will not be easy for PAK and not also SA. But pak will have tiny edge as SA lacking a big spinner and also as in 2nd test on little turning surface Ajmal cause some problems. But thats only tiny edge. not easy.

Posted by   on (February 25, 2013, 18:50 GMT)

there batting was expected to fail here. Toufeeq got injured. so nasir had a go but failed. keeper selected which wasnt good in batting and added up a big tail. Hafeez is terribly out of form but not accepting it and withdrawing opening slot.

The most disappointment was bowling failures. some part played by selection, they selected 3 debutants. & apart from irfan other 2 were not xtra ordinary. Gul inconsistent as always & he is lead bowler. Junaid impressive but out injured. Tanveer was flopped. Bowling failure has to do with some poor selection.

ONly chance/fight was 2nd test but ajmal never had any support & let it go.

pakistan has average batting line up. and failed miserably.

Posted by   on (February 25, 2013, 18:33 GMT)

Although I am not defending Pakistan's worse performance in SA but you will see the table turning in Pakistan's favour when SA will be UAE against Pakistani spinners..

Posted by Mohsin_Ali_Khan on (February 25, 2013, 18:25 GMT)

I reckon Pakistan made two big mistakes otherwise they could have competed far better. 1) Wrong selection of fast bowlers, Apart from Gul, Junaid & Irfan, rest of the bowlers were pretty ordinary. In place of Tanvir, Rahat and Adil, Pakistan shoud have had Wahab Riaz, Sami and Cheema in their squad. These 3 bowlers especially Sami could have been very successful with his sheer pace on these tracks. 2) The batting order was wrong as the usually prolific run getters for Pakistan like Hafeez and Jamshed were sent repeatedly as openers who were unable to negotiate the new ball and in effect Younus, Azhar and Misbah would be playing the new ball after the fall of early wickets. Instead, Azhar and Misbah with comparatively better defence technique could have been sent as opener to see off the new ball, no matter they would not score much. Once the new ball would have been seen off with minimal loss, Hafeez and Jamshed coming in middle or late order could have performed much better.

Posted by cricketkhan on (February 25, 2013, 18:18 GMT)

@ESPNBUG,wake up mate, such haughty talking is bound to be doomed, as is evident from the current pak performance in SA. The Pak team fans did the same, and have bitten the dust, another team from down under is doing the same in India Today.So, dont be super speculative for a series which is 8 months away, and u dont know yet wots gona happen then.

Posted by FighterKallis on (February 25, 2013, 17:31 GMT)

In uae pak will dig its own grave and will not be able to speak about cricket anymore. Hashim kallis and devillers will give them thunderbolt.

Posted by Akhter786 on (February 25, 2013, 17:29 GMT)

In addition to all the talks of Technique, temperamanet and skills, the worst thing that has happened to pakistan cricket lately is their ultradefensive approach, possibly because of Misbah. I am not blaming him in any way but his is the habit which nolonger is effective anywhere, India's Dhoni is accused of defensive mindset but he himslef is an aggressive player.

UAE series is not going to be a cakewalk or a garden jog for even the best team, get ready for a cracker of a competition though Saffers obiviously will be the mighty favourites even then, courtesy Kallis-The eternal reliable Amla-The artist Devillers _ the Style

Posted by Master_uv_Puppetz on (February 25, 2013, 17:17 GMT)

Us (Pakistan's) overall philosophy of success is to hope for a miraculous talent from the 'boys' and throw them into the ring. If he performs.. you get greats like Zaheer Abbas, Javed Miandad, Inzimam. Not to mention bragging rights from the selector. If failure.. just read Iqbal Qasim's statement today 'We will perform postmortem of every player's performance and DECISIONS will be taken'.

Some lucky one will live to see another day.For others.. obscurity looms.

Posted by Papa_Tango on (February 25, 2013, 16:57 GMT)

@SurlyCynic: assigning a number based on averages is incorrect - if that were the case how exactly would you rank the SA batsmen???? Take a look at the batting averages of both teams and tell me what number would you assign to them? To assign 6 to Saeed Ajmal who unsupported by his team on the one so called sub-continent approximating wicket (an incorrect statement in my opinion) nearly won the game and then tied down the SA batsman on the Fortress SA pitches in the other two tests, belies his true performance. : on seaming, swinging, fast pitches, he held the batsmen down. Averages alone do not lead to a performance number, a more holistic approach would suggest a higher number. BUT as I said, we shall see in October.... :)

Posted by QingdaoXI on (February 25, 2013, 16:51 GMT)

7 is too high no one deserves more than 3 marks that 3 also to Sahfiq and Ajmal and most of them deserves in minus, why not try to give marks in minus hafeez and gul will definately get -10.

Posted by Testcricketistop on (February 25, 2013, 16:18 GMT)

From a South African perspective there were two new boys in the Pakistan side that I like and beleive we will see a lot more in the near future, Azhar Ali looked good, his technique is decent and he had a good mental attitude.

Then Mohammed Irfan, I really like the look of this guy, he shows a lot of promise and kinda reminds me of Morne Morkel.

Ajmal is a dangerous bowler, obviously like any spinner he needs dry tracks we I am sure we will see in the UAE. It was an invaluable experience for SA to play Ajmal at Newlands, it has been quite some timie since we have played against a decent spinner and it has reminded us there is work to do.

I very much look forward to the test series in the UAE. Lets hope this time round the pitches allow for results rather than tedious draws.

Posted by zarasochozarasamjho on (February 25, 2013, 16:14 GMT)

Firdose's analysis is pretty much accurate. Numbering performance is not an exact science, but the ranking does make sense. I very much like the comments of cricketkhan; how I wish more Pakistanis made similar comments. The problems with most Pak supporters is that they either don't know facts or prefer to dream. Do they not know that to be number 1 you need skills of the highest quality? Don't they compare averages between players and performance of various teams all over the world? It is amazing someone doubting SA's record abroad. SA have only most recently beaten the other 2 top test teams in their own back-yards; and if you look at recent history SA's record is better away than at home. As a Pak supporter, I am hoping Pak does much better in the T20s and ODIs. However, this is not real cricket, as bowlers and batsmen are both restricted, as is the fielding. It does, however, suit inferior teams to show that they can compete with the best - somewhat!

Posted by   on (February 25, 2013, 16:11 GMT)

7/10 is the highest; to me it should have been 1/10.

Posted by SurlyCynic on (February 25, 2013, 16:06 GMT)

@ Papa_Tango: Ajmal had one 9/10 test and two 4/10 tests. I admire him as a bowler but if you average 33 in a series 6/10 is about right.

Posted by Papa_Tango on (February 25, 2013, 15:31 GMT)

I do not agree at all with the grade given to Saeed Ajmal: here is a bowler who singlehandedly manhandled the best test cricketing side, in a TEAM sport is given a 6. Well the SA have plenty of video to look at from now till October and at that point we will see how they cope with him. He also has a lot of video to watch and we will see how he handles them. Partisanship

Chess match anyone?

Posted by SurlyCynic on (February 25, 2013, 15:21 GMT)

I think 3 is pretty harsh on Adil who took a couple of wickets @27 in his debut and did his best.

@cricketkhan - Yes, most teams do perform better at home. But SA are unbeaten away since 2006 so they're not just 'home tigers'.

Posted by delpihero on (February 25, 2013, 15:01 GMT)

So if you average 33 you get 7/10. More like 5/10

Posted by cricketkhan on (February 25, 2013, 14:56 GMT)

Not taking away anything from the perfomance put up by SA, which was clinical and professional to say the least,Pakistan has had thier woes always on foriegn tours.Thier defeat in SA is multi-dimensional, and to a greater extent, due to the mind set we as a nation have. We believe more in miracles then efforts and abilities, like faces more then charectors, and love dreaming rather then ground facts.So a well deserved thrashing by SA to a side depleted in resources,but dreaming to beat No # in the world in thier own back yard. This brings in my mind another important aspect, the power of the teams playing at home and utilising the conditions to its ultimate. will this SA team be able to repeat the same in UAE against the same team? and if it does, then no doubt they will be listed in the annals of great teams of the past.

Posted by K.A.K on (February 25, 2013, 14:45 GMT)

Thanks Firdose for a great analysis! Pakistan has a lot to learn from their perofrmance. The couches, selectors and the team management should think through what needs to happen to comeout of this trough.

Posted by Armoured_cricket on (February 25, 2013, 14:37 GMT)

I think many cricket fans around the world were anticipating a great series between two pretty good sides.....with much of the hype around the Pakistan seamers on SA's fast pitches. Many believed that the visitors could walk away with at least a test win.

Such a pity the Saffers were hardly pushed! It ended up a one-sided contest and I am sure Pakistan will feel as if they could have done more. Let's hope the "rematch" later on in the year will be more competitive.

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