KARACHI: Members of the South Africa cricket squad arriving at the team’s hotel on Saturday. —PCB
KARACHI: Members of the South Africa cricket squad arriving at the team’s hotel on Saturday. —PCB

KARACHI: A 32-member South Africa cricket squad, led by Quinton de Kock, arrived here on Saturday for their first tour of Pakistan — during which they will play two Tests and three Twenty20 Internationals — after a long wait over 13 years.

The squad, which includes 21 players and 11 support staff officials, flew into Karachi at 9:00am after boarding a special charted flight after they had undergone two coronavirus (Covid-19) tests — all of them reporting negative — prior to their departure from Johannesburg.

The visitors were warmly received by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) officials — headed by director for international cricket Zakir Khan — at the Quaid-e-Azam International Airport before escorted to their hotel while being surrounded by a heavy security contingent that is usually provided for the VVIPs and dignitaries.

According to the PCB, the tourists will remain in a short quarantine until they clear first stage of Covid-19 testing done here before being allowed to begin training at a venue in close proximity to their hotel.

Meanwhile, the South Africans were forced to make a last-minute change to the squad after Ottniel Baartman, the uncapped seam bowler from domestic side Dolphins, was ruled out of the tour for medical reasons unrelated to Covid-19.

Baartman has been replaced in the squad by fellow uncapped paceman Marco Jansen of Warriors. Jansen is second in the bowling chart with 21 first-class wickets at an average of 20.71 in the current season.

Former South Africa wicket-keeper/batsman Mark Boucher, who now is the head coach, and had been part of the national team which last toured in Pakistan in 2007 and won both the two-match Test series (1-0) and the ODI rubber 3-2 under the captaincy of Graeme Smith.

The first Test starts at the National Stadium from Jan 26 before the final match is played in Rawalpindi from Feb 4, while all the T20 fixtures will be staged in Lahore on Feb 11, 13 and 14, respectively.

Squad: Quinton de Kock (captain, Titans), Temba Bavuma (vice-captain, Lions), Aiden Markram (Titans), Faf du Plessis (Titans), Dean Elgar (Titans), Kagiso Rabada (Lions), Dwaine Pretorius (Lions), Keshav Maharaj (Dolphins), Lungi Ngidi (Titans), Rassie van der Dussen (Lions), Anrich Nortje (Warriors), Wiaan Mulder (Lions), Lutho Sipamla (Lions), Beuran Hendricks (Lions), Kyle Verreynne (Cape Cobras), Sarel Erwee (Dolphins), Keegan Petersen (Dolphins), Tabraiz Shamsi (Titans), George Linde (Cape Cobras), Daryn Dupavillon (Dolphins), Marco Jansen (Warriors)

Team management: Mark Boucher (head coach), Enoch Nkwe (assistant coach), Khomotso ‘Volvo’ Masubelele (tour manager), Charl Langeveldt (bowling coach), Justin Ontong (fielding coach), Craig Govender (physio), Rivash Gobind (performance analyst), Adrian le Roux (strength and conditioning coach), Dr Hashendra Ramjee (team doctor), Zunaid Wadee (security manager), Sipokazi Sokanyile (media manager).

Published in Dawn, January 17th, 2021

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