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'We don’t want to be complacent' - Misbah expecting different conditions in Rawalpindi
Pakistan News

'We don’t want to be complacent' - Misbah expecting different conditions in Rawalpindi

Pakistan head coach Misbah-ul-Haq has warned his team against adopting a complacent attitude ahead of the second Test against South Africa in Rawalpindi as he expects conditions to be quite different to what was observed in the Karachi Test.

The hosts staged a terrific comeback in the first match after being reduced to 27-4 in the first innings as a ton-up Fawad Alam helped Pakistan achieve a commanding 158-run lead over the opposition.

South Africa were then decimated by spin twins Yasir Shah and debutant Nauman Ali on a turning track leaving Pakistan a paltry 88-run target to knock off on the fourth day's play.

Pakistan's resounding seven-wicket triumph came after a spate of defeats in the longest format in New Zealand and England as Misbah suggested it was important to boost the squad's morale.

“It was a much-needed victory,” he said in a virtual press conference on Monday.

“The team came back from a difficult position, but we don’t want to be complacent. South Africa is a tough team and we know they will come back hard at us.”

Misbah's journey as Pakistan's head coach following the exit of Mickey Arthur has not been an easy one as his tenure has come under criticism for a lack of favourable results.

Scrutinised for contentious selection decisions and debatable strategies, Misbah's future in the coaching slot remains uncertain.

Prior to the commencement of the South Africa tour, Misbah and bowling coach Waqar Younis were summoned by the PCB Cricket Committee with the two set to report to the panel once more after the Proteas assignment.

Misbah rejected any notion of being troubled by rumours surrounding a potential parting of ways with the PCB and stressed his entire focus was on the second Test and the subsequent T20Is.

“My focus is on this series. We will put all our energies into this Test match and see how we can win. Other things are uncontrollable and there is no point in thinking about it," he noted.

While the contest in Karachi was a trial by spin, the Rawalpindi encounter is expected to be decided by a battle between the two sides' pacers.

The cooler weather in Pindi and the generally green conditions in the city's cricket stadium has compelled teams to bank on fast bowlers for earning success.

This was the case in Pakistan's Test homecoming in December 2019 against Sri Lanka when no frontline spinner played for the home side.

Misbah confirmed he would be willing to make changes to the playing XI and hinted at a possible Test debut for Haris Rauf if Pakistan require the services of a tearaway speedster.

"We have tried to take maximum advantage of the home conditions. Normally, in first-class cricket, the pitch in Rawalpindi is greener and has a lot of moisture because there is not enough time to dry in between games," Misbah said. "But recently the pitch has received sunlight, which is good and I am hoping it will be on the drier side."

On Rauf's development as a red-ball candidate, Misbah added: "Haris is bowling very well, he has been consistently bowling 13-14 overs in the nets. He's getting ready [for Test cricket], if the need arises, then we can include him."