Ahead of the first Test between South Africa and Pakistan, which gets underway on Friday (1st February) at The Wanderers, Johannesburg, former Pakistan coach Richard Pybus believes the Pakistan bowlers have what it takes to trouble the home side.
Writing for www.pakpassion.net, he describes the attack that Misbah-ul-Haq has at his disposal 'mouth-watering'.
Fast bowlers Umar Gul, Junaid Khan and Mohammad Irfan all showed strongly during the drawn tour game in East London, as did off-spinenr Saeed Ajmal. Abdur Rehman has been picked as the extra spinner.
"The Pakistan bowling unit is mouth-wateringly exciting, I'm already salivating, particularly after watching Mohammed Irfan against India," Pybus said.
"For Misbah to be able to choose between Ajmal and Rehman and to have the Pakistan equivalent of Joel Garner is quite a thing, that allied with Junaid's pace and swing and Umar Gul with orthodox and reverse swing, this will present South Africa with their most serious batting challenge for quite some time.
"Cape Town and Centurion (venues for the second and third Tests) should also offer turn so Ajmal should pose quite a threat," he added.
"One thing for Pakistan to consider is the ability of the South African batsmen in playing off spin. They have become very proficient at countering the threat of the off-spinner. Rehman maybe a more dangerous challenge to the top order of right-handers, particularly as the right arm quicks will make rough for him as the game goes on."
Pybus had two spell as coach of Pakistan between 1999 and 2003, also coaching Bangladesh, Border, Middlesex and Titans so is well placed to judge on the merits of both squads, and as a fast bowler himself, he offers the following assessment of South Africa's quick bowling line-up:
"Morkel and Steyn are the best pace duo in the world at present, Philander has been exceptional but his body has been letting him down. He has a window of grace because of his performances but he will need to be careful this doesn't close on him. Rory Kleinveldt is an able replacement if Philander is unfit."
For all the talk of bowlers, however, it will be down to the batsmen to deal with whatever each attack can muster, and Pybus believes that Pakistan's batsmen hold the key.
"The balance or tipping point of the series will inevitably be Pakistan's batsmen - can they give the bowlers the volume of runs to be able to make a fight of this? If they can, then we are in for some unforgettable cricket. As always with Pakistan, fasten your seat belt, it could be a bumpy ride!"
© Cricket World 2013
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