South Africa, Pakistan tune up for World Cup
by Cricket Archive Staff Reporter

Player:GC Smith, Abdul Razzaq, Shoaib Malik, Shahid Afridi, Imran Nazir, HH Gibbs, JM Kemp, AB de Villiers, MV Boucher, SM Pollock, RJ Peterson

DateLine: 3rd February 2007


South Africa and Pakistan switch from Test to one-day cricket in a five-match one-day international series starting at Centurion Sunday, the last chance for both teams to tune up ahead of next month's World Cup in the West Indies. South Africa's 15-man squad for the series is their probable World Cup party, while Pakistan have named a 17-man squad for the series, indicating they need to do some fine tuning ahead of the tournament in the Caribbean. "It's taken us two years to build our one-day team," said South African captain Graeme Smith. "We've been pretty consistent in one-day cricket over the last few years and we would like to carry that on going forward to the World Cup. We're a powerful one-day team and we're confident." Smith said Pakistan would provide strong opposition in a battle between the second and third teams on the International Cricket Council rankings. "It should be a fantastic series. They've got some world-class players and a good all-round team of one-day players. In South Africa we've had the better of them but we've got to show them a lot of respect." Pakistan, who pushed South Africa hard before losing a three-match Test series 2-1, will be strengthened by the inclusion of all-rounders Abdul Razzaq and Shoaib Malik, who both missed the Tests because of injury, while fellow all-rounder Shahid Afridi has been recalled to the team. Afridi is one of the most dynamic hitters in world cricket but has not played a substantial innings at international level for more than a year. He said before leaving Pakistan that he knew South African conditions well after spending a season in South African domestic cricket with Griqualand West and was confident of regaining form. Opening batsman Imran Nazir is another who gets a chance to revive his international career. South Africa will be without batsman Herschelle Gibbs for the opening match. Gibbs was banned from the last Test, Friday's pipe-opening Twenty20 international and the first one-day international after insulting comments about Pakistani supporters were broadcast over a stump microphone during the first Test. The absence of Gibbs will probably mean that big-hitting Justin Kemp will be moved up the batting order. South Africa trounced India 4-0 in a one-day series earlier in their home season but will seek more consistency from their top-order batsmen, particularly openers Smith and AB de Villiers, to unlock the potential of quick-scoring players like Kemp, Mark Boucher and Shaun Pollock. South Africa named only one specialist spin bowler, Robin Peterson, in their squad and are expected to stick to their traditional strength in seam bowling backed by athletic fielding, with former one-day star Jonty Rhodes having had an impact since he became the team's fielding coach last year. Squads:


South Africa: Graeme Smith (captain), Jacques Kallis (vice-captain), Loots Bosman, Mark Boucher, AB de Villiers, Herschelle Gibbs, Andrew Hall, Justin Kemp, Charl Langeveldt, Andrč Nel, Makhaya Ntini, Robin Peterson, Shaun Pollock, Ashwell Prince and Roger Telemachus Pakistan: Inzamam-ul-Haq (captain), Younis Khan (vice-captain), Mohammad Hafeez, Yasir Hameed, Imran Nazir, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Yousuf, Shahid Afridi, Kamran Akmal, Abdul Razzaq, Zulqarnain Haider, Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, Mohammad Asif, Abdul Rehman, Shabbir Ahmed, Imran Farhat and Mohammad Sami.


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