Pakistan tour to South Africa 2018-19 [Preview]
Pakistan is scheduled to tour South Africa in the month of December to play three Tests, five one-day internationals and three T20Is. The visitors will kick-start their tour with a warm-up game against South Africa Invitational XI in Benoni from 19 to 21 December.
Both sides will play three-match Test series that will begin from 26th December on Boxing Day at SuperSport Park, Centurion. The second game will be played at Newlands, Cape Town from 2nd January. The third and final game of the series will be played at Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg.
Sarfaraz Ahmed and co. have done well in the past couple of months, beating teams like New Zealand and Australia in the UAE. The visitors will certainly face a stern test against South Africa, who have a strong bowling attack at their disposal.
Pace bowler Mohammad Abbas have been ruled out of the series due to a shoulder injury. Opener Fakhar Zaman is certainly going to miss a couple of game due to injury.
Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Haris Sohail, and Babar Azam have done well for Pakistan in the red-ball cricket and will be crucial for Pakistan in the three-match Test series against South Africa. Imam-ul-Haq also needs to find form after struggling to score any runs during the New Zealand series played in the UAE.
Mir Hamza, Wahab Riaz, Shaheen Afridi, and Hasan Ali are the pace option for the three-match series. Off-spinner Bilal Asif has certainly done enough to cement his place as the second spinner in the XI. Pakistan’s premier bowler Yasir Shah will be keen to make an impression on his first trip to South Africa.
On the other hand, South Africa have been a mixed bag so far this year. Captain Faf du Plessis will be determined to get off to a good start against Pakistan in the three-match Test series. Dean Elgar and Aiden Markam have been excellent for South Africa at the top of the innings.
Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis will need to do the bulk of the scoring as they are most experienced players in the batting department. Amla and du Plessis will need to raise their game as they averaging 23.36 and 27.23 so far this year in Test cricket.
In the batting lineup, Theunis De Bruyn will replace AB De Villiers, who retired from international cricket earlier this year. De Bruyn notched up his maiden century in Sri Lanka and will be keen to score consistently for South Africa in Test cricket.
Temba Bavuma will be keen to put in crucial runs for the side in the upcoming three-match Test series. South Africa’s batting has looked frail at times and in the absence of AB De Villiers, things will be even tougher against Pakistan in bowler-friendly conditions.
In the bowling department, the hosts will be hoping to find a suitable replacement for Lungi Ngidi, who has been sidelined for three months due to injury. Duanne Olivier, Chris Morris or Wiann Mulder might be possible candidates to take his place in the XI.
Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, and Kagiso Rabada will first-choice seamers for the three-match Test series. Keshav Maharaj is the premier spinner for South Africa in the format. The culmination of three-match Test series will see both sides play five-match one-day international series that will begin from 19th January. The other games will be played on 22nd, 25th, 27th, and 30th January.
The green shirts will play three-match T20I series that will begin from 1st February at Newlands Cricket Ground, Cape Town. The other two games will be played at Johannesburg and Centurion on 3rd and 6th February respectively.