South Africa arrive for first Pakistan tour in 14 years

By: AFP      Published: 10:32 AM, 16 Jan, 2021
South Africa arrive for first Pakistan tour in 14 years
File photo.

The South African cricket team arrived in Karachi on Saturday to play two Tests and three Twenty20 internationals on their first tour of Pakistan in 14 years.

The team, led by wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock, was whisked from the airport under state-head level security accorded by the hosts, the Pakistan Cricket Board. 

The 21-member squad had two Covid-19 tests before their departure from Johannesburg which all came back negative, and they will be further tested on their arrival.

Officials say the squad will stay in individual isolation until the results of the first round of testing are released before they start training in a ground adjacent to their hotel.

Pakistan and South Africa will play the first Test in Karachi from January 26.

The second Test starts in Rawalpindi from February 4 while Lahore will host all three Twenty20 internationals on February 11, 13 and 14.

South Africa's head coach Mark Boucher has showed satisfaction with the security arrangements in Pakistan.

"We've had our (security) guys go there (to Pakistan) and do a recce of the situation and they have said it is safe," Boucher told reporters ahead of the team's departure on Friday.

"So from my side there are no issues, we have to get back there and start playing cricket," said Boucher, part of South Africa's last tour to Pakistan in 2007.

International cricket was suspended in Pakistan following a terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore in March 2009.

Pakistan has gradually hosted teams again in the last five years before Test cricket was revived in late 2019 when Sri Lanka toured for two Tests. 

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

Changes in Pakistan

Pakistan dropped batsmen Shan Masood and Haris Sohail along with fast bowlers Mohammad Abbas and Naseem Shah in a wholesale shake-up on Friday for the upcoming two-match Test series against South Africa.

The changes were forced after Pakistan lost both Tests on their tour of New Zealand where they failed in all three departments of the game.

Opener Masood had managed just 33 runs in the last eight Test innings since scoring 156 against England in August, failing miserably in New Zealand where he scored just 10 in two matches with three zeros. 

Left-hander Sohail managed just 28 in two Tests in New Zealand. 

The 17-year-old Naseem and spearhead Abbas both managed just four wickets in the series.

Left-arm spinner Zafar Gohar is the fifth player dropped from the last Test at Christchurch which Pakistan lost by an innings and 176 runs earlier this month.

But new chief selector Mohammad Wasim refused to accept it was a "panic like situation".

"No, it's not panic," said Wasim while announcing the squad. "We have selected a squad after analysing the performance in New Zealand and areas of improvement are identified."

Wasim said Naseem and Abbas were not up to the mark in New Zealand.

"Both Naseem and Abbas were lacking that bite so we have not included them in the squad which will be trimmed to 16 before the Test," said Wasim.

South Africa will arrive early Saturday and after a five-day quarantine play the first Test in Karachi from January 26. 

The second Test will be in Rawalpindi from February 4 before three Twenty20 internationals on February 11, 13 and 14 -- all in Lahore.

More consideration was given to performers of the just concluded domestic first-class matches from where six uncapped players -- Kamran Ghulam (batsman), Saud Shakil (batsman), Nauman Ali (left-arm spinner), Sajid Khan (off-spinner) Tabish Khan (fast bowler) and Agha Salman (batsman) -- are selected.

Ghulam, 25, created a new record for most runs in a Quaid-e-Azam trophy tournament with 1,249 while Sajid took the most wickets with 67.

Pakistan squad

Babar Azam (capt), Abid Ali, Abdullah Shafique, Imran Butt, Azhar Ali, Fawad Alam, Kamran Ghulam, Salman Ali Agha, Saud Shakeel, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Nauman Ali, Sajid Khan, Yasir Shah, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Tabish Khan.

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