Wisden
Tour review

South Africa v Pakistan, 2013-14

Neil Manthorp


Pakistan and South African players with the trophy, South Africa v Pakistan, 2nd T20I, Cape Town, November 22, 2013
Pakistan won the ODI series and drew the Twenty20 series © Getty Images
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Series/Tournaments: Pakistan tour of South Africa

Twenty20 internationals (2): South Africa 1, Pakistan 1
One-day internationals (3): South Africa 1, Pakistan 2

Barely a week before it started, this most hastily organised mini-tour was still in doubt. Cricket South Africa were desperate to fill some of the empty spaces in their international schedule following the BCCI's decision to cut short India's visit, and Pakistan just happened to be the only major team with a fortnight to spare.

The sides had just been playing each other in the United Arab Emirates, and had also met in a full series in South Africa six months earlier. But this was no deterrent, and CSA's chief executive, Haroon Lorgat, negotiated the 12-day visit - only to have the rug pulled from under his feet with days to go, when Najam Sethi, the PCB's acting-president, was told he did not have the authority to agree the tour. That ruling was then itself reversed, and what was widely regarded as an exercise in futility was finally able to begin.

The tour did not enable CSA to make up any of the estimated $20m the BCCI's decision had cost them; in fact, it actually cost them more money. The objective, however, was to appease their sponsors, by providing - as closely as possible - the number of days of international exposure stipulated by their contracts. It was all rather bewildering for the players, but familiarity on the field had led to friendship rather than contempt, and there were jokes about seeing each other "in a couple of days" by the time the last match was played in Dubai, on November 15 - less than a week before the first Twenty20 international in Johannesburg.

The last-minute fixtures were modestly attended by locals still stunned by the Indian tour debacle, but they were strongly contested and entertaining, a credit to both teams. And when Misbah-ul-Haq raised the fresh-out-of-the-box one-day series trophy, there could be absolutely no mistaking how much it meant to be the first Pakistan captain to prevail in a bilateral series in South Africa. Misbah hailed his side's success as "an important victory for all future Pakistan teams". To further cheer Pakistan, seamers Anwar Ali and Bilawal Bhatti made promising debuts.

In the circumstances, the administrators and players did well to organise and contest five matches at such short notice. But that was the problem: the circumstances were created by selfish and spiteful administration and, for South Africans at least, the taste never left the palate.

Match reports for

1st T20I: South Africa v Pakistan at Johannesburg, Nov 20, 2013
Report | Scorecard

2nd T20I: South Africa v Pakistan at Cape Town, Nov 22, 2013
Report | Scorecard

1st ODI: South Africa v Pakistan at Cape Town, Nov 24, 2013
Scorecard

2nd ODI: South Africa v Pakistan at Port Elizabeth, Nov 27, 2013
Scorecard

3rd ODI: South Africa v Pakistan at Centurion, Nov 30, 2013
Report | Scorecard

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