Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq fears Saeed Ajmal may struggle against South Africa
Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq has played down expectations for Saeed Ajmal for the Test series against South Africa.
Last Updated: 14/10/13 11:55am
The star spinner blitzed the England batting line-up last year, taking 24 wickets in a 3-0 thrashing of Andrew Strauss' side who were ranked No 1 in the world at the time.
But with South Africa's top order boasting the likes of Graeme Smith, Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis and JP Duminy, Misbah believes Ajmal will struggle to repeat last year's success.
"Ajmal was new to England and that's why they struggled against him," Misbah said. "South African batsmen have played him more.
"They have played him well in one-day internationals as well so it's a big challenge for Ajmal and he will have to lift his bowling because he is up against a team who plays him well."
Pakistan face a selection dilemma ahead of the opening Test in Abu Dhabi starting on Monday, with both Ahmed Shahzad and Shan Masood competing to open the batting with Khurram Manzoor.
The uncapped openers both scored confident half-centuries against the Proteas for Pakistan A last week, and Misbah added: "It's a tough choice because both the guys are batting well at the moment, but I think it's good for our team."
Pakistan were crushed 3-0 in South Africa earlier this year, but Misbah insisted that result would have no bearing on this month's series.
"It's not good to be in the past, always focus the present and future," he said. "No doubt that it's a tough series, we are playing against a good team but it's an opportunity to perform against a good team and prove that we are also a good side."