Friday, January 18, 2013

Pakistan vs South Africa is going to be a Cracking Test Series!

In just over two weeks, Pakistan will take the field to take on the world's number 1 test team. The last time that happened, Pakistan finished off the series with a whitewash - a 3-0 victory over England.

One can't really expect the same against South Africa in South Africa, a country where Pakistan has never won a test series.

Moreover, the current South African test team is probably the best test team they have ever had in their history of test cricket.

Smith, Amla, Kallis, De Villiers, Du Plessis, Alviro Petersen represent the strongest test batting line up internationally. Five of them are among the Top 20 ranked batsmen in tests, while the one who is not is only 4 test matches old and already has 2 centuries and 2 fifties in his 6 test innings.

Steyn, Morkel, Philander represent the best pace attack in the world currently, and arguably one of the best ever test pace attacks to play the game.

Steyn and Philander are the Top 2 ranked bowlers in tests, while Morne Morkel is at number 8.

That's a team with every single player in great form. No surprises then that they are the world's number 1 test team.

To say that this tour to South Africa is going to be a big test for Pakistan is a gross understatement.

It will be tough. It might even be a disaster. Pakistan could be whitewashed. Watching New Zealand fold in front of the South Africans, there can't be much hope for Pakistan's batsmen.

But there should be some in my opinion.

In Mohammad Hafeez, Taufeeq Umar, Azhar Ali, Younis Khan, Misbah Ul Haq, and Asad Shafiq, Pakistan have a very stable batting line up. Add the ever improving Nasir Jamshed and the emerging Haris Sohail to the mix and Pakistan have a good problem on their hands in deciding their top 6.

Pakistan's test record in the past 2.5 years, during which they have lost only 2 tests, is second to none. The rise of batsmen like Azhar, Hafeez, and Asad, coupled with the experience of Younis and Misbah, has been a key reason behind the team's success.

The biggest contributor to this success though is Saeed Ajmal, the world's best spinner across all formats. He has single handedly lead Pakistan's bowling attack over the past couple of years and destroyed all teams that have come in his way.

England's demolition last year was largely due to their inability to read Saeed Ajmal, and his partner in crime, Abdur Rehman.

While South African conditions may not offer much assistance to spinners, Ajmal and Rehman are the sort of bowlers who don't require much help from the pitches. Their variety and guile are enough to trouble the best of batsmen across all types of surfaces.

Moreover, Pakistan finally have a potent pace attack. Once again it feels like a proper Pakistan team with attacking fast bowlers who can trouble opposing batsmen. They are worth every penny that you pay for to watch them; a sure treat on the eyes. I've heard fans talking about wanting to sell iPhones to go watch them bowl.

In Junaid Khan, Mohammad Irfan, Umar Gul, and the untested Ehsan Adil, Pakistan has its most dangerous pace attack since the 2010 summer when Aamer and Asif were running through the Australian and English batting line ups.

Adil is only 19, but going by his U19 and domestic performance during the past year, he has the potential take wickets in heaps in South Africa.

Pakistan's batsmen might find it difficult facing Steyn, Morkel, and Philander in their back yard, but I can assure you that Smith & Company will not find it easy to cope with Junaid, Irfan, and Ajmal.

I truly believe that it will be a well fought series. Tough to think of a Pakistan series win, but I am quite sure that they will compete well and give South Africa a hard time.

Pakistan is currently ranked number 4 in tests. The last time they played against the world's number 3, number 2, and number 1 teams the results were 1-1, 3-0, and 0-0 respectively.

The last time Pakistan played South Africa in a test series was in 2010 in the UAE, right after the England summer when the spot fixing scandal had destroyed the team's morale.

It was Misbah's first test series in charge of the team and Pakistan managed to hold South Africa for a draw in both tests.

(Click on image to enlarge)

There isn't much to choose between South Africa and Pakistan really over the past two years.

It is true that South Africa have beaten England and Australia in their respective countries, are undefeated in their past 11 test series, have lost only 1 of their past 22 test series, and are the undisputed test champions of the world.

But it is also true that they will be up against the world's number 4 test team who have lost only 1 of their past 8 test series and are in the test form of their life.

It is going to be one cracking test series!

Make your pitch on this post...

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

0 Pitched:

Post a Comment