The conditions suit us better because most of us played here, says the home captain
Babar Azam will make his test captain debut on Tuesday against a tough South African team heading to Pakistan for the first time in more than 13 years.
Azam has recovered from a thumb injury that kept him out of the two-test streak in New Zealand, which Pakistan lost 2-0.
“I missed the series against New Zealand, but it is a proud moment for me to be making my captaincy debut in my own country,” said Azam on Monday.
“South Africa is a good team. They can’t be taken lightly but the conditions suit us better because most of us have played here, ”he added.
South Africa last toured Pakistan in 2007 after a terrorist attack on a bus with the Sri Lankan team in Lahore in 2009 forced the country to organize its “home” test series in the United Arab Emirates.
The second test will be played on February 4th in Rawalpindi, followed by the T20I series of three games from February 11th to 14th in Lahore.
Pakistan is out of the running to qualify for the final of the Test World Championship at Lord’s in June, while South Africa has only one mathematical chance of making it among the top contenders with India, New Zealand, Australia and England.
Azam was aware of Pakistan’s poor test record against South Africa, winning only four out of 26. One of Pakistan’s 15 defeats came at the National Stadium – the site of the first test – when South Africa toured in 2007. “We shouldn’t think about it. In the past, we should focus on what lies ahead,” said Azam.
“It is a fact that we don’t have a good record against them, but we’ve prepared well and we hope to do our best against them this time.”
Pakistan added six uncapped players to a 17-man squad. Opening batsman Imran Butt and left-wing spinner Nauman Ali could make their test debut on Tuesday.
Azam also said that Pakistan could go along with Yasir Shah with an extra weirdo.
“We’ve been practicing here for a week now and the wicket looks a little slow,” said Azam.
South Africa also has left-wing weirdo Keshav Maharaj who is causing problems for the home team. The tourists have been practicing for the past six days to get used to the conditions.
“I’m sure this Pakistani team will be tough,” said South African captain Quinton de Kock when the team arrived.
“I think our biggest challenge is the conditions we might face and we don’t know what things to deal with.”
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