South Africa tour will be biggest challenge as captain: Misbah

Last Updated: Jan 18, 2013, 15:39 PM IST

Karachi: Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq on Friday admitted that the upcoming Test and ODI series in South Africa will be the biggest test of his captaincy but said that his team is capable of toppling the Proteas.

"The coming series in South Africa is the biggest challenge of my career. But I am confident that we can topple South Africa in the Test series," Misbah said.

"People didn`t rate us highly even when we played England last year in the UAE. But we surprised everyone. The secret of our success is the team spirit and unity we have built in the last few years in the team," he added.

Misbah insisted that a lot will depend on the batsmen during their tour of South Africa.

"We have the ability to beat South Africa. But the batsmen will have to stand up and deliver. I know we have two or three batsmen who can stay at the wicket even in the different conditions in South Africa.

"If we can post a decent total, I know our bowlers are capable of delivering," Misbah said after his team Sui Northern Gas won the President`s Trophy final at the national stadium.

The 38-year-old skipper also pointed out that South African tour would be even more challenging as Pakistan had mostly played their cricket either in South Asia or the UAE in the last three years.

"After playing in England in 2010 we only went to New Zealand. Apart from that we have played in the UAE or South Asia. So it is an incentive for us to prove ourselves in South Africa as well," he insisted.

The 16-member Pakistan squad will leave on Sunday for a two-month tour to South Africa, which commences with a three Test series from February 1 in Johannesburg.

Pakistan will be touring South Africa for the first time since 2007 and Misbah felt while in recent series the spinners had won matches for his team, in South Africa the pace bowlers would have to prove their worth.

"I am confident that pacers like Umar Gul and Junaid Khan will be difficult customers to handle in South African pitches. And we have a top class spinner in Saeed Ajmal to back them up. We have the bowling to pose questions to the formidable South African batsmen," he said.

Misbah, however, said that his bowlers would not be targeting any particular South African batsman.

"It is a team game and we always look at our opponents as a team. We take it session by session. Our job is to give our best and we will do that."

Stating that he was under no pressure because of the criticism over his batting, Misbah said, "I`m used to it but I know I have a role to play in the team and I am sure my experience and that of Younis Khan will count for a lot in South Africa."