Pakistan ready for South African challenge

Last Updated: Mon, Jan 21, 2013 06:30 hrs

The Pakistan Test team, which arrived in Johannesburg on Sunday to take on world champions South Africa in a three-Test series, is all set for the 'big challenge', a Pakistani daily said.

It is Pakistan's first visit to South Africa in six years and their biggest challenge could be to adapt to the pace and bounce of the pitches they will play on against a fast bowling attack generally acknowledged to be the world's best, reports the Daily Times.

In the past 15 months, Pakistan's Test series have been played in the United Arab Emirates, which has been their home base since visiting teams stopped touring Pakistan following an attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in 2009.

In the year before that they had two high-scoring draws against South Africa in the UAE and toured New Zealand, West Indies and Zimbabwe.

Pakistan nevertheless have a Test squad which is likely to provide stronger opposition for South Africa than current tourists New Zealand, who were beaten by an innings in two Test matches, the report said.

Pakistan will be a potentially tough series. They have an exciting bowling unit and some experienced batsmen, said South African captain Graeme Smith after the New Zealand series.

The fast bowling attack will be spearheaded by the left-armer Junaid Khan, Mohammad Irfan and Umar Gul, one of four members of the touring squad who were on the 2006/07 tour of South Africa. Newcomer Ehsan Adil was a member of the Pakistan Under-19 team, which played in a triangular tournament in South Africa in January 2012, the report added.

Pakistan have two top-class spinners in Saaed Ajmal and Abdur Rehman. Younis Khan, who topped the Pakistan averages in 2006/07, is the outstanding player in a reasonable batting line-up, while Mohammad Hafeez and Faisal Iqbal also played in the 2006/07 series, which South Africa won by two matches to one.

Pakistan's only series win was in Pakistan in 2003/04. (ANI)

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