Former Pakistan opener Aamir Sohail believes his country's upcoming Test series in South Africa will provide a 'severe test of Misbah-ul-Haq's captaincy'.
Pakistan take on the number one ranked side in three Tests in Johannesburg, Centurion Park and Cape Town with the opening Test beginning on Friday (1st February).
Speaking to www.pakpassion.net, he said: "The series in South Africa will be a severe test of Misbah-ul-Haq’s captaincy. Most of the matches he has led Pakistan in have been in Asia, the Middle East and the Caribbean where wickets are almost like Asia nowadays.
"This series will ultimately test Misbah’s leadership skills, particularly given he will be using three fast bowlers, rather than having the luxury of playing two spinners in his side. I’ll be watching Misbah very closely and will be intrigued with how he utilises the three pace bowlers at his disposal. This is unfamiliar territory for Misbah and territory where he will need to lead from the front."
Misbah-ul-Haq is one of nine batsmen named in the squad and Sohail is unconvinced that so many players in the squad was a good idea.
"My surprise though, is with the number of batsmen in the squad; why so many? By taking so many batsmen you are showing your vulnerability and lack of faith in your front line batsmen. What needs to be done is that you back your top six for the series, show faith in them and ask them to put 250 runs as a minimum on the board and then back your bowlers to get the opposition out for less than that. A simple, yet effective plan."
If the squad isn't short of batsmen, one thing Pakistan do lack is a leg-spinner. Ironically, the only Pakistan-born leg-spinner in either team's squad is South Africa's Imran Tahir.
Pakistan has only won twice in South Africa in Test matches and the victories were reliant upon a good blend of fast bowlers with Shoaib Akhtar featuring in both the Test victories. Also, in both victories the performance of a leg spinner was important for Pakistan with firstly Mushtaq Ahmed and then Danish Kaneria performing very well," Sohail said.
"The lack of a world-class leg spinner could hurt Pakistan’s chances in South Africa. With no leg spinner there, Saeed Ajmal is going to have to bowl really well against a classy South African top order and Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul-Haq is going to have to rotate his bowlers and utilise them very well."
© Cricket World 2013
Open an account with bet365 today and qualify for up to £200 in free bets with our fantastic 100% Deposit Bonus.