BIRMINGHAM: Pakistan will make two changes in its squad for South Africa match on Wednesday (today), skipper Sarfraz Ahmed announced in a press briefing here.
Junaid Khan will replace injured Wahab Riaz and opener Fakhar Zaman will make his ODI debut in place of Ahmed Shahzad who has been left out after making an unimpressive innings.
Fakhar Zaman played in three Twenty20s on the tour of the West Indies in March this year.
Pakistan’s crushing 124-run loss to title-holders India in their tournament opener at this same venue was criticised for the lop-sided manner in which they played. That left them to need a huge lift against world number one South Africa who are even more better in their overall play than India.
Reminded of their win over South Africa in the 2015 World Cup at Auckland, Sarfraz said Pakistan will work out their opponents.
“I think we’ve been playing against in World Cup 2015 and now we’re playing together. So you know, South Africa is a very good team. So we will work out all South Africa’s team combinations,” said Sarfraz, who made 49 as opener in that game.
South African skipper AB de Villiers played down the threat of Pakistan’s spinners, with Imad Wasim and Shadab Khan backed up by Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik.
“Yeah, two of the four are part-time spinners. We’ve played against a lot of opposition in the last, two, three years with two spinners in it. We just played a series against England now with a couple of spinners in at wrist spinner, also finger spinner,” said De Villiers.
South Africa have Imran Tahir, man-of-the-match in their first game with four for 27, always had a point to prove against Pakistan. He started his career in Pakistan but never got a chance to play international cricket before moving to South Africa and never looked back.
Their pace attack is led by Kagiso Rabada and aided by Morne Morkel, and Chris Morris.
South African top order is also in good nick with Hashim Amla. De Villiers is the most destructive batsman in limited overs cricket with Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis and JP Duminy as competent as anyone in the world.
That leaves Pakistan’s task enormous but the fact that it will be curtains may inspire the young team.