South Africa vs Pakistan cricket
Pakistan are without doubt one of the most exciting teams in world cricket, boasting explosive batsmen, animated seam bowlers and crafty spinners. Their inconsistency does not detract from their entertainment value, and it’s exciting that they are in South Africa for a total of 10 international matches (three Test matches, two T20s and five one-day internationals).
The series starts with the first Test at Bidvest Wanderers in Johannesburg on Friday 1 February, followed by the second Test in Cape Town on 14 February. The Test series concludes back in Gauteng with the third Test at SuperSport Park in Centurion, starting on 22 February.
This series is likely to be defined by which batting side copes best with the opponent’s seam attack. New Zealand were annihilated by the Proteas' attack in both Tests during the recent series because of their inability to survive against the likes of Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Rory Kleinveld, all whom are fit for the Pakistan series.
The visitors have a few bruisers of their own, led by the seven-foot-tall Mohammad Irfan. Saeed Ajmal, the right arm off-spinner who has been Pakistan’s star bowler in recent series, won’t enjoy conditions in South African – conditions unlike like those in the subcontinent – but is still someone the Proteas will be wary of.
The series is likely to be defined by which batting side copes best with the opponent’s seam attack.
Sadly, Pakistan have been associated with some controversy in recent years: in 2011, three players were found guilty of taking money from bookmakers and even jailed for this. Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif were two of the World’s top fast bowlers at the time, and their absence from the game is very unfortunate, while the then-captain and batsman, Salman Butt, still had much to offer the international game.
The above scandals should not taint the image of the current squad, who were so dominant in the recent ODI series against India.
For the full list of fixtures and information about tickets, visit the Cricket South Africa website.