Pakistan is hoping to make a point by upstaging South Africa in their home series in the UAE. The team, which arrived in the UAE early on Sunday, will be without former captain Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir, who have been provisionally suspended by the ICC.
Before departing for the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan coach Waqar Younis admitted that the England tour had taken its toll on players. But he said he was confident they would bounce back against South Africa. “Our team is pretty balanced and I am hopeful that we will win Twenty20s,” Younis was quoted as saying by a private TV channel.
“When it comes to limited-overs cricket, they are a fine side. It will be a tough competition, I hope the boys are focused and will continue to focus.” Pakistan will play two Twenty20 internationals, five one-day internationals and two Test matches against South Africa starting on Tuesday in Abu Dhabi.
Despite Pakistan’s troubles off the pitch, the series is attracting plenty of attention in the United Arab Emirates.
The Emirates Cricket Board said no sponsors have pulled out and that ticket sales were brisk. There are hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis working in the country and the series will be broadcast as planned in South Africa and Pakistan. Cricket South Africa has said that the matches against Pakistan were vital build-up for the home series against India, starting in December, and next year’s World Cup.
Since 1995, South Africa has won five out of the seven Test series that have been played against Pakistan while they drew one. South Africa has been in fine form recently, winning a Twenty20 series over Zimbabwe 2-0 while crushing their northern neighbours in all of the three ODIs.
Meanwhile, Pakistan cricket team manager Intikhab Alam has hoped that spot-fixing allegations would not influence performance of the players. Players are positive and have the necessary potential to give a very tough time to the world class South African side.