Pakistan set to hand giant fast bowler Mohammad Irfan his Test debut at Newlands
Last Updated: February 14, 2013 8:15am
Mohammad Irfan: Set to make Test debut
Pakistan look set to unleash the world's tallest bowler in Thursday's second Test with South Africa at Newlands.
Mohammad Irfan, the 7'1" fast bowler, will become the tallest player to have taken part in a Test match if - as expected - he is handed his debut in Cape Town.
Irfan, 30, looks likely to replace Rahat Ali, who did not take a wicket in the first Test defeat in Johannesburg.
Pakistan were hammered by 211 runs there, and suffered the ignominy of being skittled out for 49, their lowest ever Test total.
Irfan impressed during a practice match against the Cobras, taking match figures of 7-40.
Coach Dav Whatmore said: "Irfan had a good practice match, he did as much as he can to push for a game. If he does play in the second Test he would have earned it."
His chances of appearing improved with the news that Junaid Khan will not be available because of injury.
South Africa are likely to be unchanged at a ground where they have not lost in nine Tests.
Graeme Smith celebrated 100 Tests as a captain in the first Test and in Cape Town it will be his 100th as South Africa captain, to go with the one match as a World XI skipper.
A fifth consecutive Test victory will seal their sixth straight series win, and reinforce their status as the world's top-ranked Test nation.
Smith expects a sterner examination, particularly as the pitch is unlikely to be as helpful to his fast bowlers as the Wanderers surface.
And he says Pakistan remain a dangerous team, with Irfan presenting them with a new challenge.
"We can't underestimate the talent they have. We know that if there's one team that can really bounce back from a performance like that, it could be Pakistan," he said.
"It's going to be a unique experience (facing Irfan), I think. It's always difficult to re-enact those things in practice. It's just out in the middle that we'll have to face that challenge."