Pakistan gear up for do-or-die clash
21 March, 2013
KARACHI: In danger of losing the One-Day International (ODI) series to South Africa, Pakistan take on the hosts today in what is a do-or-die clash for the tourists.
With the ruthless South Africa side eyeing a series win coupled with injury issues has made a fightback in Durban an uphill task for Pakistan.
Manager Naveed Akram Cheema said fast-bowler Umar Gul, who missed the third ODI due to a knee injury, has been ruled out of the series.
“Gul will not be available,” Cheema told Our Sources. “He is still struggling and has thus been ruled out.”
However, the manager said Shahid Afridi, who hit a swashbuckling 88 at the Wanderers, has recovered from a thumb injury.
“Afridi is fine and he will play. [Mohammad] Irfan has also recovered from the hamstring problem and he will be available for the match.”
Cheema added that the team underwent intense training sessions ahead of the clash.
“We are looking to level the series. The team fought well in the last match and all the players are motivated to do well.”
According to another team official, there was a possibility of a few changes as the management was considering fielding Imran Farhat and Umar Akmal to replace the struggling Nasir Jamshed and Younus Khan.
Pakistan enjoy a comparatively better record at the Kingsmead, winning three and losing two out of the five matches at the venue against South Africa.
However, there is a chance of interruption with overcast conditions and prediction of rain.
Whamore hopeful of comeback
Meanwhile, the Pakistan coach was optimistic about his team's chances in the series.
“It's been a long tour as we are here since January 22,” said Dav Whatmore. “We have learned a lot and South Africa are a good side. Our team has performed better in the ODIs and I'm confident that we will put up a good fight in the remaining matches.”
Wasim advises to go with bowling strength
Meanwhile, former captain Wasim Akram advised the management to go with a full-strength bowling unit.
“A specialist batsman cannot do much coming in at number seven,” the legend told a TV channel. “In contrast, an extra bowler can pose problems to the opposition,” said Wasim before backing Wahab Riaz who conceded 93 runs in 10 overs in the previous game.
“He was playing his first match and you cannot judge a bowler's performance in one game. I'll prefer Wahab in Gul's absence.”
“A specialist batsman cannot do much coming in at number seven. In contrast, an extra bowler can pose problems to the opposition. I'll prefer Wahab in Gul's absence as he has already played a match.”
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“As good as the Pakistan bowlers are, they are also inexperienced. Irfan and Wahab haven't played many games even though they are definitely all quality. But if we get partnerships going again, we can exploit that inexperience.”