Misbah’s form important for S Africa series: Waqar

Karachi: Pakistan coach Waqar Younis believes that performance of new Test captain Misbah-ul-Haq will be important in the forthcoming series against South Africa in the United Arab Emirates.

Waqar will supervise a short conditioning camp in Lahore from tomorrow to prepare for the full series which kicks off with a Twenty20 International on October 26.

Pakistan is playing its `home` series against the Proteas in Dubai and Abu Dhabi because of the refusal of teams to tour the country because of security concerns.

The PCB has named Shahid Afridi as the captain for the ODI and Twenty20 series.

Waqar, a former Test skipper, said that Misbah had experience of captaining at the domestic level.

"That will help him but more then that I think his individual performance will matter a lot for him and the team," Waqar said.

The Pakistan coach made it clear at a hearing of the National Assembly standing committee on sports this week that he was not consulted by PCB in the appointment of Misbah as captain for the Tests against South Africa nor about recalling the senior batsman to the limited overs and Test squads.

Misbah was a shock choice to lead the Test team last week when the national selectors announced the squads for the series.

Waqar said that Salman Butt had done a good job as Test captain on the recent tour to England.

"He (Salman) will be missed in the coming series," Waqar said.

Butt is serving a provisional suspension by the International Cricket Council after being accused of spot fixing in a Test in England.

Waqar said that Pakistan would have the edge over South Africa because the conditions in the UAE were similar to those at home.

"That is an edge for us but South Africa remain a very dangerous and experienced side and it will be a big challenge for our players," he stated.

He said he had opted for a short conditioning camp as the players had been playing a lot of cricket and he did not want them fatigued before the important series.

Waqar said Pakistan would depend a lot on their spinners in the coming Test series because of the conditions and said it was good to have three quality spinners in the line up.

The selectors have picked leg spinner Danish Kaneria, Abdul Rehman and off-spinner Saeed Ajmal for the two Tests.

Meanwhile, Saeed Ajmal has said he would be targeting South Africa`s top batsman Jacques Kallis in the series.

"Jacques Kallis is the main threat to us and I am going to target him. I am sure Insha Allah (God willing) that I will be the highest wicket taker of the series," Ajmal told a cricket website.


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