Thursday, January 31, 2013

Pakistan vs South Africa: Action starts Tomorrow!

Finally Pakistan will take the field in a test match tomorrow. It has been a long wait since their last test series against Sri Lanka in June-July last year.

For the purists, this is Pakistan's ultimate test. They are up against the number one test team in the world, and one that has hardly lost a test series in recent times. Especially at home.

Pakistan are a team that has been on the rise in test cricket for the past two years. They have lost only two of their past 10 test series and only two of their last 18 test matches. This record includes leveled test series against Australia and South Africa.

Pakistan are ranked number 4 in test cricket, a ranking that they have achieved through a consistent run that has been second to none.

No other team has the sort of win % that Pakistan has in tests over the past 2 years.

The naysayers and doubters still don't acknowledge Pakistan's strong performance and the usual criticism is that most of their victories have come in the Subcontinent / Subcontinent type pitches and that they have played against relatively weaker opposition.

But the fact is that besides India, Pakistan have played against every single test playing nation since the summer of 2010, and except for a 3-1 loss to England and a 1-0 loss to Sri Lanka, Pakistan has either won or drawn all other series.

Additionally both the series that were lost were avenged at home when England were beaten 3-0 and Sri Lanka 1-0, with home being the UAE, which is not really home you know.

Whether those wins for Pakistan were easy or not, whether they came in home conditions or not; come tomorrow, none of it matters. This series against South Africa is going to be Pakistan's toughest one in recent times.

Pakistan have never won a test series in South Africa. Even the most optimistic Pakistan cricket fans are not expecting this fact to change.

But what we are expecting is a tough fight.

Pakistan will pose a significant challenge to South Africa.

They might even win a test match.

If they manage to draw the series, it will be like a win for Pakistan.

They are up against the world's number 1 test team, but don't forget that this time last year, Pakistan was also up against the world's number 1 test team. And we all know what happened there.

I expect this to be a cracking test series and I can't wait for the action to start in Johannesburg tomorrow! It is Graeme Smith's home town, it is Graeme Smith's birthday, and it is Graeme Smith's 100th test match as captain, which is a feat achieved by no one else.

The South Africans will be celebrating Biff's day tomorrow, and the Pakistanis are going to be trying their best to spoil the party!

Make your pitch on this post...

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