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umar gul, pakistan cricket
"I am confident that players like Umar Gul and Junaid Khan will be our strike bowlers," Misbah said.

KARACHI: Pakistan need to “stand up and be counted” against South Africa's pace attack in their series with the world's top-ranked Test nation starting next month, captain Misbah-ul-Haq said on Friday.

“This series is one of the biggest challenges of my captaincy tenure but I am confident that we can pose a serious threat to South Africa,” Misbah told Reuters.

The 16-member Pakistan squad leave on Sunday for a two-month tour that begins with a three-Test series from February 1.Pakistan are touring South Africa for the first time since 2007.

“The coming series is very important for Pakistan cricket because we have mostly played our cricket in South Asia or the UAE since 2010,” Misbah added.

“The last few years have been a big challenge for Pakistan cricket and the players have come through well most of the time. But this is a tour where we have to play our best cricket.”

No Test playing nation has visited Pakistan since March, 2009 when militants attacked the Sri Lankan team in Lahore.

Misbah said he was confident about the series because Pakistan, like South Africa, had a strong bowling attack.

“Until now our spinners have come through for us now it is the turn of the pace bowlers to deliver. I am confident that players like Umar Gul and Junaid Khan will be our strike bowlers and we have a good spin backup in Saeed Ajmal,” he said.

Misbah said his biggest concern was putting substantial runs on the board against an attack boasting Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander.

“South Africa has one of the best pace attacks in the world so we have to stand up and be counted. If we can post decent totals in the tests I know our bowlers will deliver.”

Misbah said his team's main strength had been their unity which had helped them whitewash England in early 2011 in a three-Test series in the UAE.

“No one gave us a serious chance of beating England but we did that because we have gelled well as a team. That will be our main strength in South Africa despite their formidable batting and bowling resources,” he said.

South Africa completed a 2-0 series win over New Zealand on Monday after thumping the visitors by an innings and 13 runs, only their second home Test series win in four years.

The Proteas have risen to the top of the International Cricket Council's Test team rankings thanks to their wonderful away form during which they have won back-to-back series in Australia and England and remain unbeaten on their travels since 2006.

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Comments (21) Closed

Amir Jan 18, 2013 10:31pm
It is about time for Misbah to dilver in batting . Go Mr Tuk Tuk
sohaib Jan 18, 2013 11:32pm
Misbah is a great captain no doubt. My only criticism is slow scoring in ODIs and then not being able to finsh the game.
Aslam Yaqoob Jan 19, 2013 07:43am
If our openers stay watchful and deliver, rests would do their part with pressure. Runs would flow. We have to be aggresive right from word go, lest pieces would be scattered all over.
Nadeem Mirza Jan 18, 2013 08:51pm
wow!!!very impressive. Now the real challenge is to maintain this tempo. If Misbah leads from the front and score little above his batting average along with Younis Khan Pakistan will be in a very good shape. Otherwise, these two greats should be transitioned out of the team by the end of this year. Too old for any sport now. Youngsters like Asad, Azhar, Nasir, Junaid are already performing consistently and great asset for future... It is time for seniors like Younis Khan, Misbah, Hafeez, Umar Gul to step up.
ali Jan 18, 2013 08:04pm
NO 1 u should retire from this comment section
Merchant Iqbal Jan 19, 2013 02:34pm
I think Pakistan has enough young talents.PCB management has to start players rotation policy specially our fast bowlers.All the three top team management South Africa,England and Australia is doing this.We are seeing the result of it.Purpose of this policy is to keep the players physically fit and mentally strong. In my opinion we are over using Umer Gul and younus.This is the reason for their inconsistent performance.It is the right time to adopt this policy.This will give a chance to our young talents and on other hand put pressure on seniors to perform.
Asad Khan Jan 19, 2013 01:53pm
Misbah ji, please bat well and put minimum 300 on the board and then bowling would deliver automatically. Thanks!
Riaz Jan 19, 2013 12:10pm
For those who are having a go at Misbah.... Be in no doubt he has done a wonderful job, has brought stability and calmness to the side. He has shown to be natural leader. Sure enough he will have to retire soon...but not right now. I wish me all the best and good luck in SA. Riaz
saleem Jan 19, 2013 08:07am
thats true, but what was his contribution as a player?
Ali Shah Jan 19, 2013 10:30am
Good luck Misbah. I badly want us to win the test series there.
Samee Jan 18, 2013 02:12pm
Misbah as captain of Pakistan: 17 tests, Won 9, Lost 1, Draw 7 Enough said.
Farooq Mogul Jan 19, 2013 01:05am
And remember there was no excuse to lose last ODIs against India. Misbah's days are over, time to move on, Hafeez should take over and Misbah should retire, gracefully, for a change.
Karachi Wala Jan 18, 2013 06:06pm
Historically, it is most of the times Pakistan bowlers who have been delivering Home or Away. The problem has always been is our batting. In the past sometimes we claimed to have batting as deep as #8 or #9. That strong batting line up folded no matter how small the target was. (Please dig deep into the history). Pakistan bowlers delivered even when no one counted on them. So, message for Misbah and co is, buckle up and put enough runs for the bowlers to work with. And also get in the habit of coming from behind and chasing totals and winning. Yes we won in WI, NZ, in UAE but SA will be the real test. Even if the series is drawn, in my books, I will consider Pakistan won the series. Let
Mohammed Baluch Jan 18, 2013 05:58pm
Keeping our fast bowlers injury free during the tour will be very important! They should add either Wahab Riaz or Anwar Ali to the squad - or at least keep them training and on stand by in case they need to go in a hurry! And two left handed batsmen are needed in Pakistan's top six bats - so they should play both Umar and Jamshed. Morkel usually bowls well only to right handers. Steyn and Philander - we should look to attack the former, and simply keep the latter bowling all day to tire him out! Great contest if Pakistan gets the right breaks in the First Test.
Nadeem Mirza Jan 18, 2013 08:54pm
Right on,,, But remeber time his not on his side. Soon he will touch BIG 40. PCB should prepare for life after Misbah..
Peace Only Jan 18, 2013 05:01pm
Time for you to be respectful to the person who not only held the team together, but won a lot of matches...... Just remember the last one-day series win against India on Indian soil.
Ian Jan 18, 2013 04:58pm
It will be really challenging for the pace men without a solid anchor pair. But, the overall bowling can still bowl out teams. The main source of exasperation is going to be the batting
sali Jan 18, 2013 04:42pm
Bowling has always done it. Its time for batting to lead.
Asif Kahsmiri Jan 18, 2013 03:18pm
In Sha Allah Pakistan will win.
Riaz Jan 18, 2013 02:21pm
I have a feeling the batting will struggle unless they are willing to battle it out and be disciplined. Leaving balls and being patient against hard new ball is the key. Having watched many games in South Africa, batsman who can play of back foot and who can deal with the short ball will be ok. Winning the toss and taking the right descion based on prevailing conditions will also be critical. They will need to bat for 100 + overs, most sides fail to that. Riaz
A - No.1 Jan 18, 2013 01:57pm
Time for you to retire. Lead from the front and do the honourable thing.