Pakistan upbeat against South Africa

Dubai: Despite being hit by the `spot-fixing` scandal during its last cricket tour, Pakistan are upbeat about the `home series` against South Africa starting on October 26, and are hoping to put behind all the controversies by giving a strong performance and gaining back the confidence of their beleaguered fans.

"Our team is pretty balanced and I am hopeful that we will win Twenty20s," the Daily Times quoted Pakistan coach Waqar Younis, as saying, before departing for the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

"When it comes to limited-overs cricket, they are very fine side. It will be tough competition, I hope the boys are focused and will continue to focus," he added.

Pakistan will play two Twenty20 internationals, five one-day internationals and two Test matches against the Proteas in the UAE.

South Africa, which have won five of the seven Test series played against Pakistan with one draw since 1995, have been in fine form recently, sweeping the three-match one-day series and a Twenty20 match against Zimbabwe.

Despite their recent dominance, South Africa`s ODI and Test captain Graeme Smith said that Pakistan could not be taken lightly even as they battle off-pitch distractions. "They are the type of team that can beat you on any given day and they are a dangerous team to play. You can`t afford to take them for granted."

"They have got talented players, they have got some really good fast bowlers, they have got some spin, so they cover a lot of bases. We are going to have to be at our best to be competitive on this tour," he added.