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Pakistan vs South Africa


Babar Azam Needs To Interact With Youngsters More: Ramiz Raja

Ramiz Raja, cricketer-turned-commentator remarked in a recent interview that Pakistan skipper Babar Azam should plan for the long-term to emerge as a quintessential leader.

Ramiz Raja advised Babar Azam to interact with the youngsters in the team to establish himself as a leader.

Ramiz Raja Image courtesy of: ARY Sports
Ramiz Raja Image courtesy of ARY Sports

Ramiz Raja: Babar Azam Needs To Become A Leader And Must Engage With Youngsters

He also took an indirect dig at the team management and the selectors for continuing with some of the older players like Shoaib Malik and Mohammed Hafeez in the team.

Speaking with India News, Ramiz Raja said: “Babar Azam needs to become a leader and he can only become a leader when engages with the youngsters. He will only become a leader when he takes actions in accordance with long-term planning. We take one step forward and play two new players but also play four older players.”

Pakistan AFP / Lindsey Parnaby
Pakistan AFP / Lindsey Parnaby

Speaking on the importance of Babar Azam improving as a leader, the former Pakistani cricketer added: “He needs to understand that if he wants to become a good leader, he must, one, learn to take chances. Two, improve the selection, and three, observe how the modern leadership functions.”

Pakistan recently toured Zimbabwe. While they won the three-match T20I series 2-1, they surged to a 2-0 clean-sweep in the Tests. Babar Azam became the first Pakistan captain to win his opening four Tests. Earlier, Pakistan defeated South Africa in Tests and T20Is at home earlier this year and then won the T20I and ODI series in the return series before wrapping up the African safari with T20I and Test series wins against Zimbabwe in Harare.

Pakistan completed the series win against Zimbabwe after sealing the 2nd Test by an innings and 147 runs. Babar Azam’s men had beaten Zimbabwe in the first Test by an innings and 116 runs. Earlier in the tour, Zimbabwe had lost the T20I series 2-1 to the touring Pakistan side.

Ramiz Raja: Lot Of Confusion In Pakistan Cricket Since The Roles Are Not Defined

Ramiz Raja wants Pakistan skipper Babar Azam and the team management to define the roles of individuals in the team. According to the former cricketer, well-defined roles in the team will help everyone move in the same direction, including the captain.

“There is a lot of confusion because the roles are not defined. When you lose, there is a lot of chopping in the dressing room. We need to control the mood swings and everyone needs to understand the direction, especially Babar Azam,” said Ramiz Raja during the interview.

Babar Azam
Babar Azam. (Photo by Aamir QURESHI / AFP) (Photo by AAMIR QURESHI/AFP via Getty Images)

Babar Azam, who is still in his early days as a captain, is yet to lose a Test match and Pakistan has won all the four games they played under his leadership. In ODIs, the team has won four out of six games under Babar Azam. Pakistan has also won 13 out of 21 T20Is with Babar Azam leading the side.

Misbah, Dhoni Photo Credit: (ICC)
Misbah, Dhoni Photo Credit: (ICC)

Ramiz Raja Terms Misbah-ul-Haq As ‘Poor Man’s MS Dhoni’

Ramiz Raja has called Pakistan coach Misbah-ul-Haq a “poor man’s MS Dhoni”. Ramiz Raja feels that Misbah-ul-Haq needs to bring ‘modern thinking’ to the side and urged the Pakistan team to play more aggressively and freely in the future.

Ramiz Raja suggested Misbah-ul-Haq leave his subdued approach behind and embrace Pakistan’s natural aggressive style of cricket while speaking in an interview on Cricket Baaz’s YouTube channel.

Misbah-ul-Haq- the head coach of the Pakistan cricket team.© AFP

Ramiz Raja: Misbah-ul-Haq Was Also Restrained And Unemotional Like MS Dhoni

On 4 September 2019, Misbah-ul-Haq was appointed as the head coach for the Pakistan cricket team as well as a chief selector on a 3-year contract. Pakistan lost the Twenty20 series 2-1 and went down heavily in both Tests against New Zealand. They have also lost Test series in Australia and England under Misbah-ul-Haq. Pakistan however won both Tests and T20I series at home against the Proteas.

“Misbah-ul-Haq’s training and upbringing is different. Let me put it this way; he is the poor man’s Dhoni. MS was also restrained and not emotional. Misbah is also like this,” said Ramiz Raja.

Ramiz Raja
Ramiz Raja. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

The former Pakistan skipper added:

“Misbah-ul-Haq has to take a new direction because there is a need to set the GPS right for cricket in Pakistan because aggression is in our DNA. I think, at times, he gets too protective and he gets cagey as soon as we lose a match. We shouldn’t be afraid of hiccups and setbacks.”

Ramiz Raja Thought ‘Aggressive’ Ravi Shastri Was A Misfit In Indian Team And Ravi Shastri Took The Attitude To Coach India

Giving another example of how being aggressive has paid-off in modern-day cricket, Ramiz Raja praised Ravi Shastri and Virat Kohli. The former Pakistan skipper talked about how Ravi Shastri has stood out for his aggression ever since his playing days.

“When we played against Ravi, we felt he was a misfit in the Indian team because he had aggression. He was a go-getter, a team player ready to open and bat down the order. His body language was different. We felt he wanted to be an Imran Khan type player because we were like that,” Ramiz Raja observed.

Ravi Shastri. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Ravi Shastri. (Photo Source: Twitter)

“I think he took this attitude to the Indian team, and fortunately for him, the captain Virat Kohli is also like that. He is aggressive and expressive and this has made a big difference for the Indian team,” the former Pakistan skipper added.

Misbah-ul-Haq and his team’s next assignment is the tour of South Africa, where they will play 3 ODIs and 4 T20Is against the Proteas. The first ODI will take place in Centurion at the SuperSport Park on April 2nd.

The Pakistan team is slated to play three ODIs and four T20Is against South Africa and three T20Is and two Tests against Zimbabwe.

Test squad has the likes of Babar Azam (c), Imran Butt, Abid Ali, Abdullah Shafique, Azhar Ali, Fawad Alam, Saud Shakeel, Agha Salman, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf, Tabish Khan, Hasan Ali, Shahnawaz Dhani, Nauman Ali, Zahid Mahmood, Sajid Khan

ODI squad has the likes of Babar Azam (c), Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Abdullah Shafique, Haider Ali, Danish Aziz, Saud Shakeel, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk), Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Hasnain, Usman Qadir, Hasan Ali.

T20I squad has the likes of Babar Azam (c), Shadab Khan, Sharjeel Khan, Mohammad Hafeez, Haider Ali, Danish Aziz, Asif Ali, Mohammad Nawaz, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk), Shaheen Shah Afridi, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Hasnain, Usman Qadir, Hasan Ali, Arshad Iqbal

Kamran Akmal, Babar Azam
Kamran Akmal, Babar Azam

Babar Azam Must Insist On The Players He Wants, Says Kamran Akmal

Kamran Akmal, Pakistan’s wicketkeeper-batsman, in a video on his official YouTube channel, claimed that newly-appointed skipper Babar Azam was not a kid anymore while urging him to take on more responsibility by not relying on ‘laptop selectors’. The 39-year-old believed all strong teams in the current world were made by captains who filled the side with match-winners.

Veteran Mohammad Hafeez returned to the T20I squad, while Shadab Khan will also make a comeback and resume his vice-captaincy duties. Sharjeel Khan, who last represented Pakistan in 2016, has also earned a recall for the upcoming series against South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Kamran Akmal
Kamran Akmal © Getty Images

Kamran Akmal Feels Captain Must Insist On Players He Wants

Babar Azam is unhappy with the choice of 6 players who have been selected in the Zimbabwe and South Africa squads and is concerned that players are being picked for the Test squad based on performances in the PSL. Babar Azam wanted players to get a proper and consistent chance rather than getting called up, not being given a chance, and then dropped without any reason pointing to the likes of Aamer Yamin and Kamran Ghulam.

“I think the captain has the biggest role. He must insist on the players he wants. All successful teams have a captain deciding the players and creating a team filled with match-winners. Look at England, India, and New Zealand. They are great captains and they have made great teams. The responsibility lies with Babar Azam,” Kamran Akmal said.

Babar Azam celebrates after reaching 100 runs during a game between Australia and Pakistan.
Babar Azam celebrates after reaching 100 runs during a game between Australia and Pakistan. PHOTO: GETTY

“If Babar doesn’t tell them then it could hurt his own focus and performances. That is why I think it is Babar’s responsibility. He is not a kid anymore. He is experienced and is a top-class player. The PCB has given him complete authority. He should utilize that authority. If he relies on these individuals then our cricket might not be headed towards betterment,” Kamran Akmal added.

Babar Azam was in favour of Haris Sohail being picked in the ODI squad for the series against South Africa, but once again this suggestion was ignored by the selectors. Babar Azam has communicated to the PCB that he doesn’t want to be a dummy captain whose opinions are just ignored again and again. He wants his suggestions and opinions need to be considered if he is to have the responsibility of being captain.

Kamran Akmal: Can’t Pick Players For Tests From Those Who Did Well In T20Is

Kamran Akmal fumed at the fact that players could be picked for the Test side based on T20I performances and claimed that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) needed to review its selection policies.

“You can’t just pick players for the Test format from those who perform well in T20Is. This is how it is going right now. This is causing damage to Pakistan cricket. The PCB should put more thought into how they select players for the national side. They should think about the process and policy of selection. “

Sharjeel Khan of Pakistan(Getty Images)
Sharjeel Khan of Pakistan(Getty Images)

“They can’t just put a laptop in front and show stats. That is how foreign coaches thrive here like Mickey Arthur. They didn’t make cricket better in the country, on the contrary, they damaged it significantly. The same policy is being applied now. It doesn’t work like that,” he said.

“What is the vision and policy of the individuals selecting the players? This is what is happening. They are looking at players bowling in the nets. If somebody bowls one good spell in four matches then you say he has done really well. We have to rectify all of these issues,” Kamran Akmal concluded.

Pakistan on Friday named disgraced opener Sharjeel Khan, who served a ban for spot-fixing, in the national T20 squad for the upcoming away tours of South Africa and Zimbabwe. Besides him, chief selector, Muhammad Wasim also announced a number of surprise exclusions and inclusions for the twin tour on which Pakistan will play three ODIs and four T20 internationals in South Africa and two Tests and three T20s in Zimbabwe.

A total of 22 players have been named for the T20 and ODI matches on the twin tours with 14 players featuring in both squads. Left-handed batsmen Sharjeel Khan was banned for five years in August 2017 by the Anti-Corruption Tribunal of the Pakistan Cricket Board after being found guilty of corruption during the Pakistan Super League held in the UAE.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 29: South Africa captain Faf du Plessis talks with ex captain Graeme Smith ahead of their opening ICC CRricket World Cup match against England at The Oval on May 29, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Faf Du Plessis Has Been A Prolific Scorer In Tests And To Lose Him Will Leave A Big Gap: Graeme Smith

Graeme Smith, Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) Director of Cricket, on Wednesday, said that with Faf du Plessis retiring, from Tests there would be a big gap in the Proteas Test side.

Graeme Smith’s remarks came as former Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis announced his retirement from the longest format of the game on Wednesday to focus on the next two T20 World Cups.

Cricket South Africa Graeme Smith Source: Bloomberg
Cricket South Africa Graeme Smith Source: Bloomberg

Graeme Smith: Faf Du Plessis Has Been A Prolific Cricketer And His Absence Will Leave A Big Gap In Proteas Team

Faf Du Plessis, who recently featured in the two-match Test series against Pakistan, represented South Africa in 69 fixtures in Test cricket. The former South African skipper amassed 4163 Test runs averaging 40.02. He hit 10 centuries and 21 half-centuries in the longest format of the game. Graeme Smith said CSA respected his decision to retire from Tests at 36 years of age after playing 69 Tests.

“Faf has been a prolific Test cricketer for the Proteas for a number of years now and to lose him in this format is going to leave another big gap in the team. His commitment to the team has always been undoubtedly and his transparency with Cricket South Africa about his plans has always been appreciated and we respect his decision, knowing he would not have come by it easily,” said Graeme Smith in an official release.

“I would like to thank Faf on behalf of CSA for his years of service and dedication to the Proteas’ Test team and we look forward to engaging further with him on how he can continue contributing to the team in a meaningful way,” Graeme Smith added.

Faf du Plessis. (Photo by CHRISTIAAN KOTZE/AFP via Getty Images)
Faf du Plessis. (Photo by CHRISTIAAN KOTZE/AFP via Getty Images)

Faf Du Plessis didn’t have a good outing with the bat in Pakistan. He scored 55 runs in four innings as South Africa faced a crushing 2-0 defeat in the Test series. Graeme Smith thanked Faf Du Plessis for contributing to South Africa’s success. Graeme Smith said CSA will look forward if he can contribute to the team in another department.

“It has been a year of refinement in the fire for us all. Uncertain were the times, but they brought clarity for me in many respects. My heart is clear and the time is right to walk into a new chapter. It has been an honour to play for my country in all the formats of the game, but the time has come for me to retire from Test cricket,” Du Plessis said in his Instagram post.

“If someone had told me 15 years ago, that I would play 69 Test matches for South Africa and captain the side, I wouldn’t have believed them. I stand in a place of utmost gratitude for a test career full of blessings bestowed on me. Every high and low has shaped me into the man I am proud to stand as today. In all things, those instances worked towards the good of who I believe I am today,” he added.

Faf Du Plessis played 143 ODIs and 50 ODIs besides featuring in 69 Tests and eventually finished with 18 wins from 36 Tests as skipper.

Faf Du Plessis Who Debuted In Tests Against Australia Want To Focus On Next 2 T20 World Cups In Next Two Years

The right-handed batsman, who also plays for Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the India Premier League (IPL), wants to focus on the two upcoming T20I World Cups slated to be held in India and Australia respectively. Faf Du Plessis plays for Chennai Super Kings in IPL since 2011 except in two years 2016 and 2017 when he played for defunct Rising Pune Supergiants when CSK was banned for the alleged role in spot-fixing.

“The next two years are ICC T20 World cup years. Because of this, my focus is shifting to this format and I want to play as much of it as possible around the world so that I can be the best player I can possibly be. I strongly believe that I have a lot to offer to Proteas in this format. This does not mean that ODI cricket is no longer in the plans, I’m just making T20 cricket the priority in the short-term,” said Du Plessis.

He made his Test debut against Australia at Adelaide in November 2012. He scored an impressive 78 in the first innings and hit a valiant century- – a classy unbeaten 110 from 375 balls in the second innings to salvage a heroic draw for the Proteas in the second essay.

Faf du Plessis. FILE - Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
Faf du Plessis. FILE – Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

The right-handed batsman announced himself unequivocally in the format when he scored 78 and 110 not-out on debut against Australia, becoming and remaining the only South African to have scored a half-century and century on Test debut.

His unbeaten 110 in the fourth innings of that match also remains the longest a South African has batted in the fourth innings of a Test match, at 466 minutes. The Pretoria-born right-hander, who 12 months ago relinquished the captaincy, produced one of his best innings for South Africa as recently as seven weeks ago when he scored career-best 199 in their first Test match of the summer against Sri Lanka at his home ground in Centurion.

Tabraiz Shamsi
Tabraiz Shamsi

Tabraiz Shamsi Is At Career-Best 2nd Position Among Bowlers In T20 Rankings

Tabraiz Shamsi, a South African spinner has grabbed a career-best second position among bowlers in the latest ICC Men’s T20I Player Rankings while batsman KL Rahul has gained a position in the T20I rankings as he reaches the second spot among batsmen.

Pakistan wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan has raced to 42nd place after standout performances in the three-match series that Pakistan won 2-1.

KL Rahul scored 76 in the second ODI against Australia. (Reuters)
KL Rahul (Reuters)

Tabraiz Shamsi Was Leading Wicket-Taker In 3 Match T20I Series Against Pakistan

Tabraiz Shamsi was the leading wicket-taker in the series against Pakistan taking six wickets, which included a haul of four for 25 in the final match. It helped the left-arm wrist-spinner overtake Australia’s Adam Zampa, England’s Adil Rashid, and Afghanistan’s Mujeeb-ur-Rahman to within three points of top-ranked Rashid Khan of Afghanistan.

Tabraiz Shamsi (Ashley Vlotman/ Gallo Images)
Tabraiz Shamsi (Ashley Vlotman/ Gallo Images)

The tweaker, recently, ended as the joint highest wicket-taker in the T20I series against Pakistan that the visitors lost 1-2. Tabraiz Shamsi picked up six wickets in the three matches at an economy rate of 5.08. Visitors’ fast bowler Dwaine Pretorius also got six wickets.

In the final T20I at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, Tabraiz Shamsi picked up four wickets, though his spell came in a losing cause.

Mohammad Rizwan Was Highest Run Scorer In The T20I Series

Mohammad Rizwan too benefited from being the highest run-scorer in the series with 197 runs, which comprised knocks of 104 not out, 51 and 42 in the 3 T20Is. The string of impressive scores won him the player of the series award and lifted him a whopping 116 slots to a career-best 42nd position.

Mohammad Rizwan was also the player of the series in a preceding two-match Test series, which resulted in a career-best ranking for him in that format.

Haider Ali is another Pakistan batsman to advance in the rankings, moving up 13 places to 137th position while fast bowlers Shaheen Afridi (up to five places to 11th) and Hasan Ali (up 14 places to 82nd), and spinners Mohammad Nawaz (re-entered at 64th) and Usman Qadir (up 129 places to 92nd) are the bowlers to progress.

Mohammad Rizwan. (Photo by Aamir QURESHI / AFP) (Photo by AAMIR QURESHI/AFP via Getty Images)
Mohammad Rizwan. (Photo by Aamir QURESHI / AFP) (Photo by AAMIR QURESHI/AFP via Getty Images)

For South Africa, Reeza Hendricks’s 98 runs in the series have lifted him seven places to 17th and David Miller’s 116 runs, which included a 45-ball 85 not out in the second match, see him gain seven places to 22nd position in the list led by batsman Dawid Malan of England.

Pacer Dwaine Pretorius has moved up from 121st place to 51st, after being leading joint-highest wicket-taker matching compatriot spinner Tabraiz Shamsi’s six wickets in the series, which is a huge gain considering his previous best was only a 107th rank.

There is however no change of positions in the ICC Men’s Team Rankings after the conclusion of the series between Pakistan and South Africa. Pakistan has gained one point but remains in the fourth position with 260 points while South Africa has lost one point but remains fifth with 251 points.


Pakistan vs South Africa 2021, 1st T20I: Fantasy Cricket Tips

The three-match T20I series between the hosts Pakistan and the visitors South Africa will begin on Thursday (11th February) evening. Gaddafi Stadium (Lahore) will host this opening game of the T20I series.

This T20I will be the first-ever T20I match between Pakistan and South Africa in Pakistan. It will be their first T20I meeting since February 2019 when the hosts Proteas won the three-match T20I series against this Men in Green by the 2-1 margin.

Pakistan vs South Africa 2021, 1st T20I: Fantasy Cricket Tips 1

Ahead of this T20I series, they already completed the two-match Test series where the hosts Pakistan won by the 2-0 margin.

Pakistan vs South Africa 2021, 1st T20I: Complete Squads

Pakistan: Babar Azam (C), Aamer Yamin, Amad Butt, Asif Ali, Danish Aziz, Faheem Ashraf, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Hussain Talat, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shaheen Afridi, Usman Qadir, Zafar Gohar, Zahid Mehmood

South Afria: Heinrich Klaasen (C), Nandre Burger, Okuhle Cele, Junior Dala, Bjorn Fortuin, Reeza Hendricks, George Linde, Janneman Malan, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Ryan Rickleton, Tabraiz Shamsi, Lutho Sipamla, Jon-Jon Smuts, Pite van Biljon, Glenton Stuurman, Jacques Snyman

Pakistan vs South Africa 2021, 1st T20I: Playing XIs

Pakistan (predicted): Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Haider Ali, Babar Azam (C), Khushdil Shah, Hussain Talat, Asif Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Usman Qadir, Shaheen Shah Afridi

South Africa (predicted): Janneman Malan, Reeza Hendricks, David Miller, Heinrick Klaasen (C & wk), JJ Smuts, Dwaine Pretorius, Andile Phehlukwayo, George Linde, Junior Dala, Tabraiz Shamsi, Lutho Sipamla

Pakistan vs South Africa 2021, 1st T20I: Fantasy Cricket Tips

Captain and Vice-Captain Selection:

Captain – Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan, Faheem Ashraf

Vice-captain – Andile Phehlukwayo, David Miller

Suggested Playing XI for Fantasy Cricket (1):

Wicket-keeper(s) – Mohammad Rizwan, Heinrich Klaasen

Batsmen – Iftikhar Ahmed, Babar Azam (C), Janneman Malan, David Miller, Reeza Hendricks

All-rounder(s) – Faheem Ashraf (vc)

Bowlers – Shaheen Shah Afridi, Hasan Ali, Junior Dala

Pakistan vs South Africa 2021, 1st T20I: Fantasy Cricket Tips 2

Suggested Playing XI for Fantasy Cricket (2):

Wicket-keeper(s) – Mohammad Rizwan (C)

Batsmen – Iftikhar Ahmed, Babar Azam, David Miller

All-rounder(s) – Faheem Ashraf, George Linde, Andile Phehlukwayo (vc)

Bowlers – Haris Rauf, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Usman Qadir, Tabraiz ShamsiPakistan vs South Africa 2021, 1st T20I: Fantasy Cricket Tips 3


Pakistan Now Need To Win On Away Tours: Babar Azam

Babar Azam, who is Pakistan’s all-format skipper has termed Pakistan’s boost in the Test rankings as the ‘best part of the series win against South Africa’. He also stated that the team has the potential to improve further.

Pakistan completed a 2-0 series sweep against South Africa on Monday which is their first against the Proteas since 2003. Consequently, the Babar Azam-led team has climbed the ICC Test Rankings ladder and is currently at No 5, above South Africa.

Pakistan Now Need To Win On Away Tours: Babar Azam 4Babar Azam: 5th Ranked Pakistan Have To Further Improve After Much Needed Win Against Proteas

Babar Azam, who got his Test captaincy stint off to the perfect start, expressed his joy after the match concluded. He, however, emphasized that there is still room for improvement and that the victory against South Africa will be a huge morale-booster moving forward. In the New Zealand tour, he sustained an injury and thus, could not play a match.

“It’s a welcome sign but we have to further improve. It was a much-needed win and the best part of this series win is that now we are number five in Test rankings,” said Babar Azam in the post-match press conference.

Pakistan Now Need To Win On Away Tours: Babar Azam 5

“It will take time because it’s a new team. I am a new captain and we have made some changes to the squad. When you win, it lifts your confidence and I am sure this win against South Africa will help us improve,” he added.

Hasan Ali picked 10 scalps in the 2nd Test as Pakistan won by 95 runs. Pakistan won the 1st Test by 7 wickets.  While South Africa’s Aiden Markram was the top scorer with 227 runs averaging 56.75, Hasan Ali was the leading wicket-taker with 12 scalps averaging a meager 19.67.

Babar Azam: Pakistan Need To Win On Away Tours

Babar Azam deemed it important that his new-look Test side performs similarly well on away tours as well. He feels that this series victory will help the team regain confidence from the fans following a disastrous New Zealand tour.

“We have won at home, but we now need to win on away tours. I am sure that with time, we will do that. We lost in New Zealand and there were so many negative things said, but I am sure that now people will back us.”

Pakistan Now Need To Win On Away Tours: Babar Azam 6Following an emphatic Test series triumph, Babar Azam will now lead Pakistan in their three-match T20I series starting on February 11. All matches will be held at Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium.

Pakistan, South Africa
Image Credit: Twitter

Pakistan vs South Africa 2021, 1st Test: Fantasy Cricket Tips

The hosts Pakistan will face South Africa in the first game of the two-match Test series from Tuesday (26th January) at National Stadium (Karachi). This Test series is a part of the 2019–21 ICC World Test Championship.

On the other hand, this Test series will be a historic game as South Africa will play their first international match in Pakistan since 2007.

Pakistan vs South Africa 2021, 1st Test: Complete Squads

Pakistan: Babar Azam (C), 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 Shah Afridi, Tabish Khan.

South Africa: Quinton de Kock (C), 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

Pakistan vs South Africa 2021, 1st Test: Playing XIs

Pakistan (predicted): Abid Ali, Imran Butt, Azhar Ali, Babar Azam (C), Fawad Alam, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Faheem Ashraf, Nauman Ali, Yasir Shah, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi.

South Africa (predicted): Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Rassie van der Dussen, Faf du Plessis, Quinton de Kock (C), Temba Bavuma, Wiaan Mulder, Keshav Maharaj, Anrich Nortje, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi

Pakistan vs South Africa 2021, 1st Test: Fantasy Cricket Tips


Pakistan, South Africa, Pakistan vs South Africa,1st Test, Fantasy
Image Credit: Twitter

Captain Babar Azam is returning to the national squad after recovering from his thumb injury, which definitely big positive news of this side. Babar is their most consistent batsman.

In the recently concluded New Zealand tour, wicket-keeper batsman Mohammad Rizwan scored three half-centuries and finished that Test series with 202 runs. Also, Faheem Ashraf and Azhar Ali each scored one nervous-ninety while Fawad Alam scored one fourth-innings century in that tour.

Among their bowlers, leg-spinner Yasir Shah and left-arm pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi are the strongest names at present. In the recent New Zealand tour, Shaheen was the most wicket-taker for Pakistan as he got six wickets.

South Africa

Pakistan, South Africa, Pakistan vs South Africa,1st Test, Fantasy
Image Credit: Twitter

In the recent home Test series against Sri Lanka, Dean Elgar and Faf du Plessis scored one century each, including Faf du Plessis’ unfortunate 199. Also, Aiden Markram, Temba Bavuma, Rassie van der Dussen and Kesav Maharaj scored one half-century each in that two-match Test series. However, skipper Quinton de Kock was off-form in that Test series. But he can return to the form soon.

Anrich Nortje finished that Test series as the most wicket-taker as he got 11 wickets in two Tests. Playing his first Test series, Lutho Sipamla bagged 10 wickets in that series. While Wiaan Mulder and Lungi Ngidi got 9 and 7 wickets respectively in that same Test series, Kagiso Rabada’s return to the squad has made stronger their bowling side.

Captain and Vice-Captain Selection:

Captain – Babar Azam, Faf du Plessis, Mohammad Rizwan

Vice-captain – Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje

Suggested Playing XI for Fantasy Cricket (1):

Wicket-keeper(s) – Mohammad Rizwan, Quinton de Kock

Batsmen – Babar Azam (C), Rassie van der Dussen, Faf du Plessis, Dean Elgar

All-rounder(s) – Faheem Ashraf, Wiaan Mulder

Bowlers – Shaheen Shah Afridi, Anrich Nortje, Kagiso Rabada (vc)

Pakistan, South Africa, Pakistan vs South Africa,1st Test, Fantasy
Image Credit: Dream11

Suggested Playing XI for Fantasy Cricket (2):

Wicket-keeper(s) – Mohammad Rizwan (vc)

Batsmen – Babar Azam, Fawad Alam, Faf du Plessis (C), Dean Elgar

All-rounder(s) – Faheem Ashraf

Bowlers – Shaheen Shah Afridi, Yasir Shah, Anrich Nortje, Lungi Ngidi, Kagiso Rabada

Pakistan, South Africa, Pakistan vs South Africa,1st Test, Fantasy
Image Credit: Dream11
Inzamam-ul-Haq. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Inzamam-ul-Haq Will Be A Special Guest On PCB Digital Platforms During Pakistan’s Home Series Against South Africa

Inzamam-ul-Haq, former Pakistan skipper will be a special guest on the PCB digital platforms to review and analyze the two-Test and three-T20I series between Pakistan and South Africa, which begins in Karachi on 26 January.

His involvement is part of the Pakistan Cricket Board’s efforts to enhance and expand its digital coverage of the first series between the two sides on Pakistan soil since 2007.

PCB Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Inzamam ul Haq’s Appointment Aligned To PCB’s Digital Strategy Built Around Fan Focused And Insight Based Content

This is also aligned to the PCB’s digital strategy that is built around fan-focused and insight-based content that allows the fans and followers a bigger, better and closer access to cricket activities and initiatives. During the matches, Pakistan cricket fans and followers will have access to ball-by-ball scoring at websites like, which will also include match previews, reviews and other series-related information.

Pakistan will host Test matches after ten years.
Pakistan hosted Test matches after ten years. Credits: PCB.

While there will be regular match updates at @TheRealPCB_Live, hourly highlights will be posted on all PCB platforms, focusing on exciting and interesting action from each hour. His series preview will be released on 24 January, while the review of the Karachi Test will go out a day after its conclusion.

Pakistan hosted Test matches after 10 years with Sri Lanka playing in December 2019 after hooligan assailants attacked visiting Sri Lankan bus in 2009. The cricketers escaped suffering minor injuries as UAE became Pakistan’s home venue with visiting teams not favouring to visit Pakistan for security reasons.

Inzamam-ul-Haq Pleased To Be Involved In The Historic Series In Pakistan And Believes Pakistan Will Be A Tough Side

Highlight packages will be also available at the end of the day’s play apart from the virtual press conferences of the star performers of the day, on the PCB YouTube Channel that will allow the fans and followers to rewind the day and enjoy the action.

Inzamam-ul-Haq said, “I am pleased to be involved in this historic series, being played in Pakistan for the first time since 2007. I have no doubts this is going to be an exciting and keenly-contested series and, in this background, I am looking forward to sharing my views, analysis and thoughts with the Pakistan cricket fans through the PCB digital platforms.”

Inzamam-ul-Haq (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

“Despite the recent series loss in New Zealand, I still believe Pakistan will be a tough side as its players are used to playing on these surfaces. Whether they will be able to cash in on the advantage of playing in familiar conditions is to be seen, but I have a feeling we will get quality performers from this series,” Inzamam-ul-Haq added.

Inzamam-ul-Haq is Pakistan’s third most successful batsman behind Younis Khan (10,099) and Javed Miandad (8,832) with 8,829 Test runs. Against South Africa, he scored 710 runs in 13 Tests, while he holds an average of over 72 at the National Stadium after aggregating 722 runs in eight Tests with three centuries and as many half-centuries. Inzamam ul Haq captained Pakistan in 31 Tests, winning 11 and losing 10.

Quinton de Kock,
Quinton de Kock. (Photo by Isuru Sameera Peris/Gallo Images)

Biggest Challenge For South Africa Will Be Playing Conditions In Pakistan: Quinton de Kock

Quinton De Kock, South African skipper of squad touring Pakistan has admitted the fact that unfamiliarity with Pakistan conditions is one of their biggest challenges to be overcome as they prepare to face the hosts in a two-Test series starting January 26.

From the current South Africa squad, none of the players played in Pakistan. Only head coach Mark Boucher has experience of the conditions as he was part of South Africa’s tours of Pakistan in 1997, 2003 and 2007.

Mark Boucher
Mark Boucher. (Photo Credit: Getty Images.)

Quinton de Kock: Pakistan Will Have Advantage Of Home Conditions

The current Pakistan tour is the Proteas’ first since 2007. At a virtual press conference, Quinton de Kock admitted that home conditions definitely give Pakistan the edge. He played in last year’s IPL before South Africa’s white-ball series against England, which came to an abrupt halt with half the games not played when England, spooked by cases of the virus detected went home.

The limited-overs series against England was before the home Test series against Sri Lanka, which was concluded 10 days ahead of South Africa’s departure for Pakistan.

The wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Ksock was quoted as saying: “In all honesty we don’t know what the conditions would be like because none of us have played here before barring our head coach. We have spoken to the coaches about how we’ll prepare for the series. We’ll be up against a side which have the advantage of home conditions, regardless of its makeup. The biggest challenge for South Africa will be the playing conditions.”

Quinton de Kock
Quinton de Kock. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Quinton de Kock added that spin will play a major part in the Test series.

Quinton de Kock: “Look, we are not going take Pakistan lightly by all means. They have picked several spinners who are unknown to us. Of course we understand that spin plays a huge part in the subcontinent because the pitches suit them more and we have got our bases covered.”

Terrorism took international cricket away from Pakistan from 2009 to 2015 after the terrorist attack on a Sri Lankan bus where the cricketers had a narrow escape thanks to the bus driver in 2009. During that time the Pakistanis played 134 matches away and another 135 at neutral venues – 84 of them in the United Arab Emirates.

However, since May 2015 they have been able to host 28 games at home, not least because the government has provided a level of security afforded visiting heads of state.

Quinton de Kock: Pakistan Will Be Much More Competitive For Babar Azam’s Return

Quinton De Kock also conceded that the return of skipper Babar Azam will boost Pakistan considerably. Babar Azam was ruled of both the T20I and Test series against New Zealand with a thumb injury, despite being in the squad.

“Pakistan will be a much more competitive side in the series because of their key player Babar who is returning from injury. Mind you, I have played in New Zealand and it’s never easy playing there on seaming pitches and South Africa had also struggled to beat them [New Zealand] in their own backyard. We all know how good Babar can be in all conditions,” Quinton de Kock said.

Babar Azam
Babar Azam. Image Credit: Getty Images.

South Africa and Pakistan will face off in the first Test in Karachi from January 26. The second Test will be held in Rawalpindi from February 4. The teams will also feature in a three-match T20I series to be played in Lahore on February 11, 13 and 14.