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Cricket | SA Team

Pakistan focusing on tests



Pakistan bowling coach Mohammad Akram says the tourists are taking their warm-up game "very seriously" against a South African Invitation XI starting in East London on Friday.

The Pakistanis, who arrived in the country on Sunday, fresh off a 2-1 ODI series win against India, had two hard training sessions at Buffalo Park under head coach Dav Whatmore in preparation for their four-day warm-up match.

"We are taking this game very seriously," Akram said on Wednesday.

"Our team is a good mix of youth and senior players. We'll be focusing hard for the tests against the No 1 team in the world, South Africa, and playing good, hard cricket."

Pakistan's tour includes three tests, two T20 matches and five ODIs, as well as a limited-overs game against another SA Invitation team in Kimberley.

Perhaps the player with most to prove on the trip is talented top-order batsman Nasir Jamshed, who is yet to play in a test match but has made a name for himself in shorter formats. He recently scored back-to-back ODI centuries against India, but this is his first venture away from familiar sub-continent conditions.

On form and consistency, Jamshed is Pakistan's outstanding batsman and as such, there will be plenty of pressure on him to succeed in South Africa.

"Pakistan has always had a policy of taking four or five young players to develop on tour," Akram said.

"We are expecting great things from Jamshed. For some years there has been no international cricket in Pakistan, and this is the opportunity for our youngsters to get some exposure."

A newcomer to South Africa is lanky left-arm pace bowler Mohammad Irfan, who at 2.1 metres towers well above the rest of his teammates.

"Irfan is like (Morne) Morkel in that he should get steep bounce from your wickets," Akram said.

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