Karachi [Pakistan], January 21 (ANI): Test cricket will return to Pakistan after a long hiatus when the hosts play South Africa at Karachi's National Stadium in the first Test, starting Tuesday.
The National Stadium is considered Pakistan's fortress, but South Africa remains one of only two teams to have beaten the home side in the 42 matches hosted at the venue. South Africa won here by 160 runs to take what turned out to be a decisive 1-0 lead in the last series to be played between the two teams in Pakistan.
Former Pakistan players are looking forward to an exciting series with both teams possessing some world-class talent that promises to produce exciting cricket.
Younis Khan, a total of 990 runs in 14 Tests against South Africa, said: "After the Test tours by Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, the tour of South Africa is a magnificent occasion indeed. National Stadium is my home ground and I have played here for a long time. The conditions and pitch will suit Pakistan. South Africa also has some quality players which makes for a competitive series."
"Young Pakistan players who will play Test cricket on home soil will have a lot to gain from this experience, they will learn the nuances of the longest format and their confidence will also grow," he added.
Mohammad Yousuf, who played seven Tests against South Africa, managing to score 357 runs, said: "South Africa's trip is a big milestone for cricket in the country, Pakistanis love cricket and it is their greatest passion. There is a lot of interest in Test cricket and I have some very fond memories of playing Test cricket all over the country.
"I am confident that the fans will enjoy a great series as both teams will enter the series with adequate preparation and planning. South Africa possesses experienced players but we have the advantage of playing at our home grounds. The Pakistan squad is well aware of the conditions at the National Stadium and even the new players inducted in the squad have rich experience of playing first-class cricket at the venue," he added.
Former Pakistan opening batsman Taufeeq Umar said that South Africa touring Pakistan is a very encouraging development and he hopes that this series will result in more teams coming to Pakistan.
"South Africa's tour is a very encouraging development and I am looking forward to what should be a keenly contested series. This series will help bring more Test cricket to Pakistan. Both teams are balanced and we are in for a thrilling series, I wish Pakistan the very best, I believe we have the squad that can prevail in the Test series," said Umar.
Pakistan and South Africa are set to lock horns in two Tests and three T20Is. (ANI)