Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed on Thursday urged his teammates to play "without fear" during their tour of South Africa – a country where they have won only two Tests during their past five tours.
The Pakistani side is en route to South Africa to play three Tests, five one-day internationals and three Twenty20 internationals, with the first Test starting in Centurion on December 26.
Pakistan head into the series after losing 2-1 to New Zealand in the United Arab Emirates last week. In the wake of a disappointing performance, Sarfraz said he still had high hopes of showing good results against the Proteas.
"Conditions in South Africa are tough with bouncy and seaming pitches so anyone who plays without fear and with a big heart will succeed," Sarfraz told AFP.
Pakistan's two wins out of 12 Tests in South Africa came in 1998 and 2007, having lost nine with just one draw.
On their last tour in 2013, Pakistan were routed 3-0 and shot out for their lowest Test score of 49 in the first Test in Johannesburg, in the presence of both senior batsmen Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq.
Now in the absence of Misbah and Younis, Pakistan will look to Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq to take charge of the batting line-up.
"We need big innings from both Azhar and Shafiq and they are capable of doing that, so if we put good totals on board we have a good bowling attack to win the match.”
Sarfraz also backed recalled paceman Mohammad Amir to pick up key wickets in the Test series.
"Amir is back after a good performance at the domestic level so we hope he gets us key wickets in Tests," said Sarfraz of Amir, who was dropped from the series against Australia and New Zealand due to poor form.
Pakistan open the tour with a three-day game against Cricket South Africa Invitation XI at Benoni from December 19.