Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed banking on Mickey Arthur's knowledge to overcome Proteas

Waseem Ahmed 13:09 25/12/2018
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Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur and skipper Sarfraz Ahmed.

Skipper Sarfraz Ahmed is banking on head coach Mickey Arthur’s knowledge of local conditions as Pakistan get ready to rub shoulders with South Africa in the first Test at Centurion on Wednesday.

The tourists are chasing a first Test series win in South Africa in what is their sixth tour of the country and Sarfraz feels Arthur’s experience will come in mighty handy in the upcoming three Tests. South Africa-born Arthur had a five-year stint as Proteas coach between 2005 and 2010.

“We have clarity about what we’ll do because we have a coach who has coached in South Africa. If you talk about the history of Centurion pitches the fourth innings is very difficult here. Whoever wins the toss would like to bat first. No one would want to bat in the fourth innings if they’re chasing over 200,” the Pakistan skipper was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.

Pakistan come into the series on the back of a 1-2 ‘home’ loss against New Zealand but Sarfraz is confident leg-spinner Yasir Shah can provide his side the edge against the formidable Proteas.

Sarfraz is backing Yasir Shah to spin a web against the Proteas.

Sarfraz is backing Yasir Shah to spin a web against the Proteas.

“If you talk about South Africa’s Test series against Sri Lanka recently, the pitch was different. All foreign teams struggle there, just like all Asian teams come to South Africa and struggle here,” the wicketkeeper-batsman stated.

“Here, the conditions are different but we do have a world-class spinner. He took 200 wickets in 33 Tests and we know South Africa haven’t played a top-quality leg-spinner in three years. So we have an advantage, we have Yasir Shah, and hopefully they will struggle against him,” he continued.

The visitors will have to make do without the services of their star seamer Mohammad Abbas who has been ruled out of the opening Test due to his shoulder injury. For now, the Pakistan skipper is hoping that the green cover on the Centurion pitch is reduced come Boxing Day.

“There’s a lot of green grass here. Hopefully they will cut it so it looks better,” said Sarfraz.

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