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Sun Apr 20 02:42:12 SAST 2014

Pakistan to play debutant opener against Proteas

Nick Said, Reuters | 31 January, 2013 16:550 Comments
Australia v Pakistan - ICC World Twenty20 2012: Super Eights Group 2
Nasir Jamshed of Pakistan bats during the World Twenty20 Super Eights match against Australia at R. Premadasa Stadium on October 2, 2012 in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Image by: Pal Pillai / Getty Images

Pakistan have no qualms about giving Nasir Jamshed his Test debut against the best bowling attack in the world when the first Test against South Africa starts on Friday.

An injury to regular opener Taufiq Umar means Jamshed will start at the top of the order against South Africa on what is expected to be a lively Wanderers wicket.

The 23-year-old averages more than 50 in one-day internationals, and was described on Thursday by captain Misbah-ul-Haq as a prodigious talent who “has all the shots”.

“Nasir is a really gifted player and has been performing well in the ODIs against very good attacks from Australia and India,” Misbah told a media conference.

Jamshed hit 68 and 51 in opening the innings in Pakistan’s only warm-up match against a South African Invitational XI in East London, which finished on Monday.

“He has all the shots in the book, he can be aggressive and be more watchful. We are very excited about him,” Misbah said.

Jamshed was the standout batsman for Pakistan on their recent one-day international tour of India, hitting centuries in consecutive matches in Chennai and Kolkata. In five matches against Pakistan’s neighbours, he averaged 135.

He will not have played on anything like the Wanderers wicket before, but Misbah is confident all the batsman will cope.

“We know what to expect from the pitch, it will have pace and bounce. We will have to show a lot of character, especially at the top of the order. But we have been playing good cricket in the two-and-a-half years I have been captain and I’m confident in my team. They give me belief.”

Umar sustained a stress fracture of the shin at practice last week and has been ruled out of the series.

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