South Africa and Pakistan want fresh start in Karachi Test
CRICKET: KARACHI, Sept 29, 2007 - South Africa and Pakistan are
looking to make a fresh start in Test cricket with both sides fielding
new-look squads for the forthcoming first Test in Karachi.
The teams also face the challenge of switching to the longer form of
the game from the shortest, following their contrasting fortunes in the
inaugural Twenty20 world championships in South Africa.
For the first game in the two-Test series here, the tourists have
dropped veteran all-rounder Shaun Pollock, while Pakistan are playing
without experienced batsman and former captain Inzamam-ul-Haq.
This is the first time that the 34-year-old Pollock has been left out
of the team after taking 416 wickets in 107 Tests - leaving the door
open for the Proteas to inject new talent in the form of Morne Morkel
and Dale Steyn.
But Pollock could get a reprieve after rookie paceman Morkel became
doubtful for the Test. He faces fitness tests Saturday and Sunday.
Pakistan will be without Inzamam in a home Test for the first time -
except for seven that he missed through injury - since he made his Test
debut in 1992.
Misbah-ul Haq, who was Pakistan's best batsman in the Twenty20
campaign, comes back from four years in the wilderness, while ace
batsman Mohammad Yousuf agreed to play after cancelling a contract with
a rebel Indian league.
Pakistan, captained by Shoaib Malik for the first time in Tests, will
also be without fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar, who is facing disciplinary
action for hitting teammate Mohammad Asif with a bat in South Africa
earlier this month.
South African captain Graeme Smith agreed both teams will find it
challenging to switch from Twenty20 cricket to Tests.
"It's going to be the biggest challenge mentally, not only for us but
for Pakistan as well, to get your mindset changed, more so because we
haven't played Test cricket for a number of months," Smith said on
As hosts, South Africa put up a disappointing show when they failed
to reach the Twenty20 tournament semi-finals while Pakistan finished
runners-up. Both teams lost to India. Both teams' last Test series was
in South Africa in January, where Smith led his team to a 2-1 win over
Pakistan, captained by Inzamam.
Smith, however, said playing in the subcontinent would be different.
"Test cricket in the subcontinent is always a big challenge. Pakistan is
a formidable team at home and they are a tough team to beat at home and
so I think we are going to be ready for it."