Proteas ponder Hafeez-less Pakistan

News

South Africa coach Russell Domingo has welcomed the absence of Pakistan all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez, ahead of this month's Test series in the United Arab Emirates.

South Africa coach Russell Domingo has welcomed the absence of Pakistan all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez, ahead of this month's Test series in the United Arab Emirates.

Hafeez has been dropped on the back of a poor stretch of form recently, amounting to a mere 102 runs in his last 10 Test match innings. Fast bowler Mohammad Irfan, meanwhile, has replaced seamer Wahab Riaz.

The veteran Misbah-ul-Haq has been retained as captain. Misbah has led his country to only one Test victory this year and, last month, endured an embarrassing 24-run defeat to minnows Zimbabwe at the Harare Sports Club.

"Our pace attack against their opening batters will be important to set up the series for us. Hafeez's form has been a bit of a concern for them for a period of time. But he is a quality bowler and a quality batsmen and we are not displeased that he is unlikely to play a part," said Domingo.

Uncapped spinner Zulfiqar Babar, too, has been included – while batsmen Asad Shafiq, Faisal Iqbal and Shan Masood and seamer Eshan Adil were excluded. The experienced Umar Gul was not considered due to a knee injury.

Three more players will be added to the squad after a three-day tour fixture between Pakistan A and the Proteas, in Sharjah, starting on 8 October. All-rounder Umar Amin will skipper the A side.

"We'll need to have an in depth look at Babar and do some analysis. He has obviously got a lot of experience but we need to sit down and do our homework," added Domingo.

The first Test will get underway at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on 14 October. The Dubai International Cricket Stadium will host the second and final fixture.

Latest