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Junaid ready for 'world-class' South Africa

January 19, 2013

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“I have worked hard at the training camp, and with the help of the video analyst, keenly observed the strengths and weaknesses of the South Africans.” -Photo by AP

KARACHI: In his brief career, Pakistan’s newest pace sensation, Junaid Khan, has already made a big impact on teammates, opponents and experts a like, his stunning performances in India still fresh in the minds of Pakistan supporters.

But the promising youngster knows a bigger challenge waits in South Africa and is now solely focused on Graeme Smith’s men.

“Their top five batsmen are world-class and I am not targeting anyone specific. I keep things simple and give my 100 per cent every time I get a chance to bowl.” Junaid said while talking to a private TV channel.

“I have worked hard at the training camp, and with the help of the video analyst, keenly observed the strengths and weaknesses of the South Africans.”

Pakistan will play three Test matches followed by two T20Is and five ODIs against the host team on the five-week long tour to South Africa. The tour will commence with the first Test match in Johannesburg from February 1st.

The 23-year-old, who hails from Swabi, also recalled his outright triumph against the prolific Indian batsman Virat Kohli on the recent India tour, describing it as a joint effort with his team analyst.

“Team analyst, Usman Hashmi, helped me a great deal in finding out the weaknesses of Kohli and others, I am glad the plan worked by the grace of God,” Junaid, who rolled over Kohli thrice in as many ODIs in India, said.

Junaid has claimed 27 wickets in eight Test matches for Pakistan since his debut in 2011. In 16 ODIs and three T20I he has 25 and two wickets respectively.

Meanwhile, Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq termed the upcoming tour the toughest of his tenure and asked his pace bowlers to step up their game even further.

“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 said.

“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.”

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.