South African cricket team are in Pakistan for the historic tour to the country after a long gap of 14 years. The Proteas arrived in the country in the city of Karachi on Saturday, amidst high security as the two teams take on each other in two Test matches and three T20I games starting next week.
South Africa last toured to Pakistan in 2007 and since then Pakistan have hosted the Proteas twice, in their adopted home of United Arab Emirates in 2010 and 2013. All cricketing tours were suspended in the country since 2009 after an attack on the Sri Lankan team, which resulted in many players of the touring SL side getting injured.
— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) January 16, 2021
However, cricket in Pakistan has started getting back on its feet since 2015. A three-match T20I series here, a match with a World XI there, knockouts of Pakistan Super League in one year and limited overs series against a couple of countries in the next, the sport has slowly grabbed its place back in the country. But the big players and the countries have still been a littlle skeptical, but when the Test cricket finally arrived in the country in 2019 by the same team that had left midway 10 years ago, Sri Lanka, it looked like cricket was indeed back in the country.
South Africa ‘s announcement further extends the renewed belief of other cricketing boards in Pakistan’s security arrangement in hosting the tours. Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Director in a statement in December stressed the same fact about renewed belief and excitement for the Pakistan fans.
“South Africa confirming a tour to Pakistan and playing matches at the three major centres is fabulous news for Pakistan cricket and its fans. South Africa is one of the most popular sides in Pakistan even though they last played here in 2007, but the fans have been following their performances closely and now look forward to welcoming them,” PCB Director Zakir Khan had said.
Expressing his delight with the same, CSA Director of Cricket Graeme Smith had said, “It’s pleasing to see so many countries making a return to Pakistan – a proud, cricket-loving nation. Cricket South Africa is delighted to be counted among them. As someone who has toured the country on more than one occasion back in my playing days, I know how much passion the people of Pakistan have for the game as well as the love and support that the Proteas enjoy there as a team.
“I would like to thank the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for the hospitality and transparency they showed our security contingent when they travelled over there a few weeks ago. The report on their findings and recommendations gives us confidence as an organisation that all of our team’s security, playing and accommodation needs will be met and that the well-being of the team will be the top priority. We look forward to embarking on this historical tour,” Smith added.
The two teams will face each other in five matches in total across two formats. Proteas will take on Pakistan in two Test matches in Karachi and Rawalpindi, after which the two teams will take on each other in three T20I matches in Lahore.
26-30 January: 1st Test, Karachi
4-8 February: 2nd Test, Rawalpindi
11 February: 1st T20I, Lahore
13 February: 2nd T20I, Lahore
14 February: 3rd T20I, Lahore
While South Africa announced a strong 21-men squad for the two Test matches, Pakistan announced a 20-member squad with 9 debutants named in the side. Shan Masood, Mohammad Abbas and Haris Sohail all faced an axe after indifferent performances on the New Zealand tour.
Your #Proteas are Pakistan bound after all players COVID-19 tests returned negative.
— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) January 15, 2021
Pakistan: Abid Ali, Abdullah Shafique, Imran Butt, Azhar Ali, Babar Azam, Fawad Alam, Kamran Ghulam, Salman Ali Agha, Saud Shakeel, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Nauman Ali, Sajid Khan, Yasir Shah, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Tabish Khan.
South Africa: Quinton de Kock (captain), Aiden Markram, Dean Elgar, Faf du Plessis, Temba Bavuma, Kagiso Rabada, Dwaine Pretorius, Keshav Maharaj, Lungi Ngidi, Rassie van der Dussen, Anrich Nortje, Wiaan Mulder, Lutho Sipamla, Beuran Hendricks, Kyle Verreynne, Sarel Erwee, Keegan Petersen, Tabraiz Shamsi, George Linde, Daryn Dupavillon, Marco Jansen.