Quinton de Kock was supposed to be missing this series in order to prepare for the Test rubber against Australia. Turns out, all he will be doing is watch Heinrich Klaasen lead South Africa in the T20Is in Lahore.
De Kock isn’t the only player resigned to watching South Africa on television. The squad that’s preparing for the three-match T20I series against Pakistan will be without several of its first-choice players, but that’s not stopped teams from creating a mark in the last few weeks. As Miller said in the lead up to the series, they are not looking to hide under the excuse that the team is young and “building”. It’s a great opportunity for the likes of Klaasen to show his leadership skills, as it is for fringe players to stand up and get noticed ahead of the T20 World Cup in India later this year.
Pakistan in their backyard could be a tough cookie to crack though, especially after South Africa are coming fresh from a 3-0 defeat to England. Not only are they undefeated in the last six T20Is at home, the team management now also has a vote of confidence, thanks to their 2-0 series win in the Tests, and will be keyed up for the contest. That’s never a bad thing for a young squad that has four uncapped players in its ranks. The series could see debuts for left-arm spinner Zafar Gohar, bowling all-rounder Amad Butt, all-rounder Danish Aziz and legspinner Zahid Mehmood.
All three T20Is will be played at the Gaddafi Stadium in a space of four days, so the matches will come thick and fast.
When: Pakistan v South Africa, 1st T20I, 6:00pm local
Where: Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore
What to expect: The dew is expected to play a role. The pitch is expected to be flat and good for run-scoring.
Pakistan: The hosts will be without Fakhar Zaman and Wahab Riaz, who were dropped for this series. There’s no Mohammad Hafeez, Shadab Khan and Imad Wasim either. Hasan Ali, who last played a white-ball international in the 2019 World Cup, should get a game after his roaring comeback in the Test series.
Squad: Babar Azam (c), Aamer Yamin, Amad Butt, Asif Ali, Danish Aziz, Faheem Ashraf, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Hussain Talat, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shaheen Afridi, Usman Qadir, Zafar Gohar, Zahid Mehmood
South Africa: George Linde, Dwaine Pretorius, Tabraiz Shamsi and Lutho Sipamla are the only four players from the Test squad who remain. It should give Klaasen plenty of spots to play around with. David Miller, who has 78 of the 219 caps in the squad, will add a lot of experience to the middle order.
Squad: Heinrich Klaasen (c), Nandre Burger, Okuhle Cele, Junior Dala, Bjorn Fortuin, Reeza Hendricks, George Linde, Janneman Malan, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Ryan Rickleton, Tabraiz Shamsi, Lutho Sipamla, Jon-Jon Smuts, Pite van Biljon, Glenton Stuurman, Jacques Snyman.
What they said
Hasan is doing a wonderful job. I have seen him in tough times being injured and struggling, but the best thing is he never gave up: Waqar Younis
We know we’re up against a really strong Pakistan team. We do respect that. At the same time, in T20 cricket if you prep well and you’ve got a great team, there are opportunities to still lose: David Miller