Boucher to look to his spin wizards in Karachi

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Proteas coach Mark Boucher says the team is expecting a turning surface in Karachi and confirmed he will deploy two spinners for Tuesday’s opening Test against Pakistan in Karachi.

The South Africans will be playing on Pakistan soil for the first time since 2017 in the eagerly awaited two-Test series in Karachi and Rawalpindi.

“We will definitely play more than one spinner and we have different options in the squad,” Boucher told reporters during a virtual media conference from Karachi on Monday.

“You will see tomorrow [when the announcement is released],” said Boucher when asked about the composition of his team for the opening Test.

The Proteas face Pakistan looking to make it two series wins in succession after sweeping Sri Lanka 2-0 at home, and Boucher said his team will turn up with a mindset to win the two Tests.

The former wicketkeeper said the team travelled to Pakistan thinking  reverse swing would play a role, but said it was clear when they inspected the pitch that it was prepared for the slower bowlers.

“We sort of came here thinking that the reverse swing is going to play a big role,” he said. “We believe we got different options within our squad. I do think that, which is a nice thing as well, we’ve got the mindset that we are not scared to go out there and try something different to what’s happened in the past.

“We can see very clearly by the selection of their squad and the conditions in front of us that they are going with a spin mindset.”

Premier Test spinner Keshav Maharaj will play a leading role against the hosts on what is expected to be a slow and turning surface in Karachi.

With Boucher having already confirmed he will play two spinners, it will be a toss-up between Tabraiz Shamsi and George Linde to partner Maharaj in attack.

“I think the conditions look like they are preparing for spin, so if you see a lot of spin in our set-up then that is the way we feel we are going to get wickets along with containing and being able to control the run rate.

“The bottom line is that whoever you select, they have got to go out there and do the job.”

Boucher said he had a clean bill of health in the team and a full squad to select from but cautioned that anything can happen overnight in the subcontinent.

“Yes, at this stage,” said Boucher, when asked if any of his troops are available for selection. “My knowledge of the subcontinent is that things happen overnight with stomach bugs and all that sort of stuff.

“There have been one or two guys who have struggled to get the food down a little bit waking up in the morning with a couple of issues, but nothing major. Hopefully we will select from a full squad.”

The second and final Test will be played in Rawalpindi from February 4, followed by a three-match Twenty20 series in Lahore from February 11 to 14.

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