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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Thursday, November 11, 2010
Sports

Pakistan to start anew

Pakistan will hope to put a series of on and off the field problems behind them and build under new captain Misbahul Haq when they play the first Test against South Africa starting here on Friday.

Pakistan's last Test against England at Lord's in August has been a subject of separate inquiries from Scotland Yard and the International Cricket Council (ICC) after a British newspaper report claimed several of its players accepted money from match-fixers.

Test captain Salman Butt and bowlers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer -- accused of contriving deliberate no-balls during that match -- were provisionally suspended by the ICC.

Misbah replaced Salman as captain for the two-Test series, shifted to the United Arab Emirates after South Africa refused to tour Pakistan over security fears.

Both Dubai and Abu Dhabi Stadiums will host a Test for the first time after becoming Pakistan's neutral venues since 2008 in the face of the security situation.

Pakistan, led by Shahid Afridi, lost the preceding Twenty20 series 2-0 and five-match one-day series 3-2 -- a result Misbah hopes will not affect the Test performance.

As if spot-fixing allegations were not enough, Pakistan cricket again hit the headlines for the wrong reasons this week when wicket-keeper Zulqarnain Haider fled the team hotel to London on Monday, saying he had received threats from unknown people.

With regular wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal already not selected for the tour for fitness reasons, Pakistan had to call uncapped Adnan Akmal, the younger brother of Kamran and also retained opener Mohammad Hafeez for Tests.

With Asif and Aamer missing in action, Pakistan's bowling attack will rely heavily on pacemen Umar Gul and Mohammad Sami -- recalled after being ignored for the England tour.

In the absence of leg-spinner Danish Kaneria, Saeed Ajmal, Hafeez and Abdul Rehman will lead the spin bowling.

Pakistan's batting will revolve around Younis Khan -- who has not played a Test since July last year -- and Yousuf, both having enormous experience.

South Africa will have no such problems.

They have quality batsmen in Graeme Smith, Jacques Kallis, Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers and enough bowling resources -- with spinners Paul Harris and Johan Botha -- to handle an unpredictable Pakistan batting.

Wicketkeeper Mark Boucher returns to the squad after missing the limited over series.

SQUADS
PAKISTAN:
Misbahul Haq (captain), Imran Farhat, Taufiq Umer, Mohammad Hafeez, Asad Shafiq, Younis Khan, Mohammad Yousuf, Umar Akmal, Azhar Ali, Saeed Ajmal, Abdul Rehman, Adnan Akmal, Umar Gul, Tanveer Ahmed, Mohammad Sami, Wahab Riaz.

SOUTH AFRICA: Graeme Smith (captain), Hashim Amla, Johan Botha, Mark Boucher, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Paul Harris, Jacques Kallis, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Alviro Petersen, Ashwell Prince, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe.

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