Zimbabwe v Pakistan, 1st Test, Harare, 3rd day September 5, 2013

Zimbabwe Tests ideal preparation for SA - Younis


Younis Khan rated the quality of Zimbabwe's bowlers so highly that he regards the two-Test series in Harare as ideal preparation for Pakistan's next challenge against the No.1 ranked Test team. Pakistan take on South Africa in the UAE after the Zimbabwe leg wraps up and Younis hopes the experience gained here can be put to good use on that assignment.

"The Zimbabweans bowled so well, they made it difficult for us, it's definitely good practice for us when we get back to Dubai," Younis said. "Also, the wicket is very good so we can really get some time but they are making it tough for us to score runs."

Although Zimbabwe's attack did not profit as much as they did on the first day, when there was still something in the surface, as they tied Pakistan down to a scoring rate of 2.4. Hamilton Masakadza, the Zimbabwe captain, was pleased with the effort on a pitch that was at its best for batting. "The guys bowled really well, they applied themselves, they stuck at it and that was good to see," he said.

Having had Pakistan at 23 for 3, Zimbabwe may have hoped to limit them even further but Masakadza said Younis, in particular, made that tough. "He put us under pressure because he was not just looking to be there, he was also looking for run-scoring opportunities," Masakadza said. "We had to set more defensive fields as well."

Younis and Misbah-ul-Haq shared a fourth-wicket stand of 116 to get Pakistan out of trouble but the old hands' rescue act was not simply a cause for celebration. Their ongoing efforts to steady Pakistan points to an over-reliance on seniors and raises concerns about the next generation. Younis is hopeful they will improve with time.

"Test cricket is all about patience and the young guys, sometimes they come from ODIs and Twenty20s so they need to learn," Younis said. "It's for the senior players like myself and Misbah and [Mohammad] Hafeez to help them and we are here to do that. The other thing is that we are not playing Test cricket regularly, the last time was almost six months ago. You need to play regularly to learn."

Pakistan's call for more Test cricket has been made on numerous occasions, especially by Misbah in South Africa in March. Younis has not played international cricket since then and most of the squad has been occupied with one-day competitions. That's why, according to Younis, the trip to Zimbabwe is so important for them. "This is what we need and we are enjoying playing here," he said.

As much as the experience of it is worthwhile for Pakistan, getting the expected results is also important and Younis is confident they can beat Zimbabwe in the longest format as well as they did in the shorter ones. Asked what he thought was a defendable total, he said, "Anything," before qualifying that to, "something like 200 or 300. Anything."

Younis believes the pitch will take more turn, "especially towards the end," but Masakadza remains hopeful it will not be much more. He said the cracks have only opened a touch, with "nothing too frightening at this stage," and thinks Zimbabwe could chase something "around 250."

Still, he is wary of Saeed Ajmal, after the spinner took seven wickets in the first innings. "We know he is going to be their main threat and the guys have their plans," Masakadza said. "Some will be looking to use the sweep and others to play as straight as possible. But I'm feeling pretty confident."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Yasir on September 6, 2013, 14:52 GMT

    @Prabhakar:Ohh cant wait to see the Legendary Great Indian Seamers bowling on SA pitches.Whole world praise Indian Fast bowlers & i cant wait to see those bowlers bringing down SA batsmen.The big question is.. how many seamers are currently playing in the team who played during the last SA tour?& How many are going there for the first time..Such big talk even the series has not been started yet lol..If we had bowled Kallis & Boucher out in that match etc etc..This is Cricket..It's not a game of if's & but.If one start doing this,nobody deserve to win in that case.. PS:Just force your board not to back off from this tour.Let's see how good Indian batsmen are there

  • Dummy4 on September 6, 2013, 10:49 GMT

    A lot of comments here seem to point out to the superior bowling of SA and hence the Indians being apprehensive, conveniently forgetting that the last time ( in fact last two times) the two have met in SA, the contests have been close. One reason for that is not great batting by India but the ability of Indian bowlers to make inroads into the SA line up using conventional swing. If not for a fighting innings by Jaques Kallis and solid support from Mark Boucher , whose test place was in line, last time around India would have won the series.This time too it won't be any different. If they were to prepare seaming wickets, they know it will be at their own peril.

  • Dummy4 on September 6, 2013, 9:51 GMT

    Younis Khan is a good player and it will depend on Younis Khan , Adnan Akmal and Saeed Ajmal to win the game for Pakistan

  • Dummy4 on September 6, 2013, 7:40 GMT

    xtrafalgarx : Yes it's similar to India playing continuous home series against every nation and rejecting the away series because they don't support DRS.

  • Ibrar on September 6, 2013, 6:07 GMT

    I got a feeling Pakistan will get a lead of atleast 250 as the wicket is still pretty good to bat on. Its not behaving that badly so far and will likely to not change much. Younus and asad partnership is key though for Pakistan. They need to survive the first hour of the day and later survive the new ball.

  • Dummy4 on September 6, 2013, 5:51 GMT

    i agree with Harish Kumar....even Afghanistan is a better side than banladesh....sad thing is that both Ireland & Zimbabwe loosing their cricketrs to England

  • Dummy4 on September 6, 2013, 5:27 GMT

    Zim & Ireland are far better than Bangladesh...Both team needs more cricket

  • Dummy4 on September 6, 2013, 4:17 GMT

    1st three days of Test, I believe Zimbabwe is a better team than Pakistan. Batting, Bowling and Fielding Zimbabwe has more commitment. If Zimbabwe has to chase 200 or less, they would do it. Anything above 225, Pakistan would win. I personally doubt if Pakistan can score three hundred plus in 2nd innings. Who selected Khurram Manzoor as an Opener, should be fired as a Selector. He does not have the technique against pace and swing. Hafeez made a selfish statement that he is fit, he is definitely not.

  • James on September 6, 2013, 3:13 GMT

    I don't get it, how can Pakistan be facing SA again! Didn't they go there last year??? Wierd.

  • Khub on September 6, 2013, 1:05 GMT

    Preparation!! Really? U playing against a second zim team (i heard they'r without their 3-4 key players) nd still struggling against zim bowling attack...... looks lyk ireland vs zimbabwe going on

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