I'm running out of starters to tell stories about a Pakistan cricket team that's changing every series. and moving on to lose'em..
Mohammad Yousuf started 2010 as captain of test match team in Australia before one day leader Shahid Afridi came out of retirement to marshall troops in return series against Aussies, organised in England. Afridi backed off just 2 tests later and selectors were forced to find a replacement = Salman Butt, but he too is now out with fixing allegations. now, inside 10 months, we've Misbah-ul-Haq named skipper of Pakistan in 2 test series against South Africa in at Dubai & Abu Dhabi, this October-November 2010. Good luck to him.
Taufeeq Umar blasts from the past to take openers slot in absense of Butt and exit of Yasir Hameed who didn't please his country's cricket board with his statements in last couple of months. Umar is a left hander, made century on his debut back in August 2001 but went into wilderness in 2006. He's played 25 tests, made 1729 runs at a batting average of just under 40 with best of 135. Taufeeq was a a save fielder as well in his youth but now that he's almost 30 year old, it'll be interesting if he can still upgrade Pak fielding or not. Imran Farhat is the other opener in the team.
Misbah-ul-Haq wasn't a part of Pakistan squad for england tour, so it'll be sort of comeback for him too, taking middle order position with experienced Mohammad Yousuf and youngsters like Umar Akmal and Azhar Ali. Asad Shafiq earns his maiden test call after impressing in coloured outfit a month ago during Natwest series.
Zulqarnain Haider made his test debut in England, made fighting fifty but returned home injured. Then, Haider was given a recall before he abandoned one day series against South Africa following threating calls, landed in UK and retired from Pakistan cricket. Now, younger brother of Kamran and Umar = Adnan Akmal, has been given his maiden international call.
Saeed Ajmal ~ the offspinner and Abdur Rehman ~ the left arm othodox spinner, are two slow bowling options selected to counter South Africans who traditionally don't play spinner with authority. Ajmal has done perticularly well since his return to international cricket couple of years ago and Rehman too has tons of domestic experience which should serve him well on this tour. Leg spinner Kaneria was also a part of the squad but has been left out at last minute.
Mohammad Sami returns once again to top level test cricket after his splendid spells at Sydney but kept out of England tour. Sami will be the fastest bowler in the squad which also contains Umar Gul, left arm fast of Wahab Riaz and youngster Tanvir Ahmed.
Younis Khan and Mohammad Hafeez have been retained for longer format after good performances in ODI series earlier on current Middle east tour.
Pakistan squad for 2 tests vs South AfricaMisbah-ul-Haq (captain), Younis Khan, Mohammad Yousuf, Mohammad Hafeez, Imran Farhat, Taufeeq Umar, Umar Akmal, Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Adnan Akmal (wicket keeper), Abdur Rehman, Saeed Ajmal, Umar Gul, Mohammad Sami, Wahab Riaz and Tanvir Ahmed.