Babar Azam will make his Take a look at captaincy debut on Tuesday in opposition to a tricky South Africa workforce that’s touring Pakistan for the primary time in additional than 13 years.
Azam has recovered from a thumb damage that saved him out of the two-Take a look at collection in New Zealand, which Pakistan misplaced 2-0.
“I missed the collection in opposition to New Zealand, however it’s a proud second for me that I’m doing my captaincy debut in my very own nation,” Azam mentioned Monday.
“South Africa is an efficient workforce. You possibly can’t take them frivolously, however circumstances go well with us extra as a result of most of us have performed right here.”
South Africa final toured Pakistan in 2007 as a result of the nation was pressured to prepare its house Take a look at collection within the United Arab Emirates following a terrorist assault on a bus carrying the Sri Lanka workforce in Lahore in 2009.
The second Take a look at will likely be performed in Rawalpindi from Feb. 4, adopted by the three-match Twenty20 collection in Lahore from Feb. 11-14.
Pakistan is out of the race to qualify for the World Take a look at Championship ultimate at Lord’s in June whereas South Africa has solely a mathematical probability to make it with India, New Zealand, Australia, and England among the many high contenders.
Azam was properly conscious of Pakistan’s poor Take a look at report in opposition to South Africa, successful solely 4 of 26 in opposition to the Proteas. Considered one of Pakistan’s 15 losses got here on the Nationwide Stadium — the venue for the primary Take a look at — when South Africa toured in 2007.
“We should always not take into consideration previous, we should always give attention to what’s forward of us,” Azam mentioned. “It’s a proven fact that we don’t have report in opposition to them, however now we have ready properly and we hope to present our greatest in opposition to them this time.”
Pakistan has included six uncapped gamers in a 17-man squad. Opening batsman Imran Butt and left-arm spinner Nauman Ali may make their Take a look at debuts on Tuesday.
Azam additionally mentioned Pakistan may go together with an extra spinner together with Yasir Shah.
“We’ve got practiced right here for every week now and the wicket seems to be a bit gradual,” Azam mentioned.
South Africa additionally has left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj to pose issues for the house workforce. The vacationers have been practising for the final six days to get used to the circumstances.
Solely South Africa coach Mark Boucher has beforehand performed red-ball cricket in Pakistan, whereas the skilled Faf du Plessis has twice toured Pakistan over the past 4 years however performed solely within the Twenty20 format. Du Plessis led a World XI workforce to Pakistan for 3 Twenty20s in 2017 after which final 12 months represented Peshawar Zalmi within the Pakistan Tremendous League playoffs.
Pakistan Squad: Babar Azam (captain), Abid Ali, Imran Butt, Azhar Ali, Fawad Alam, Saud Shakeel, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Nauman Ali, Sajid Khan, Yasir Shah, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Tabish Khan.
South Africa Squad: Quinton de Kock (captain), Temba Bavuma, Aiden Markram, Faf du Plessis, Dean Elgar, Kagiso Rabada, Dwaine Pretorius, Keshav Maharaj, Lungi Ngidi, Rassie van der Dussen, Anrich Nortje, Wiaan Mulder, Lutho Sipamla, Beuran Hendricks, Kyle Verreynne, Sarel Erwee, Keegan Petersen, Tabraiz Shamsi, George Linde, Daryn Dupavillon, Marco Jansen.