Pakistan in South Africa 2012-13 February 25, 2013

Not much to take home for Pakistan

ESPNcricinfo assesses the Pakistan team that toured South Africa

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.


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.


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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Cricket 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.


  • Cricket 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.


  • Yasir 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

  • Javed 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.

  • Cricket 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.

  • Dummy4 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..

  • Yasir 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

  • Cricket 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.


  • Dummy4 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.

  • Cricket 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.


  • No featured comments at the moment.