Vastavam web: Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed on Thursday urged his fellow teammates to play “without fear” during their tour of South Africa — a country where they have won only two Tests during their past five tours. The Pakistani side is en route to South Africa to play three Tests, five one-day internationals and three Twenty20 internationals, with the first Test starting in Centurion on December 26. Pakistan head into the series after losing 2-1 to New Zealand in the United Arab Emirates last week. In the wake of the tough loss, Sarfraz said he still had high hopes of earning a good result against the Proteas.
“Conditions in South Africa are tough with bouncy and seaming pitches so anyone who plays without fear and with a big heart will succeed,” Sarfraz told AFP. On their last tour in 2013, Pakistan were routed 3-0 and bowled out for their lowest Test score of 49 in the first Test in Johannesburg, with both senior batsmen Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq in the line-up. Now without the two stalwarts, Pakistan will look to Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq to help guide the squad.
“Amir is back after a good performance at the domestic level so we hope he gets us key wickets in Tests,” said Sarfraz of Amir, who was dropped from the series against Australia and New Zealand due to poor form. Pakistan open the tour with a three-day game against Cricket South Africa Invitation XI at Benoni from December 19.