The timing of both series, and the meaning attached for the boys in Green resembles 'lightning striking in the same place' a year apart.
Significantlt the setting of the two series are light years apart with the English series being played in a Pakistani Den supportive of their spin mastery. With them still having an unknown entity attached to their burgeoning calibre which allowed them to basically be like a thief in the night to the unsuspecting English. Who were introduced to a previously unknown weakness against spin leading to a humiliating whitewash. As we sit on the South African series the challenge becomes immense for Pakistan with it being played in conditions that are foreign to them and will to a large part eliminate their greatest strength in spin.
In what will more than likely be seaming conditions it means that Pakistan's tactics will be forced to change. Seeing the likely sacrificing of the excellent left arm spinner Abdur Rehman and the threat and sincere balance he brings to the attack to include another seamer. His absence cannot be under stated with him being a true force as seen in him taking 61 wickets at an average of 24.76 in the last two years. His threat is undoubted, but the pressure he provides that facilitates the success of others is palpable with him a strangling bowler that goes at 2.57 runs an over in his career. In truth, Saeed Ajmal is a genius, but his success has been greatly aided by Rehman's presence in the attack.
A necessary self inflicted blow to Pakistan before a ball is bounced with the fall out being the need for a Plan B to be made with an emphasis on seam against a masterful South African batting line up. Which will not be easy when Pakistan's success has been driven by spin as seen by the seamers only taking 28 of Pakistan's wickets in 2012 compared to 72 by the spinners.
In lieu of this it will force Misbah to embrace a more spectacular style of bowling assault and blend it with his trusted spin strangulation of opposition batting line up.
Which leads you to the question whether Pakistan's pace attack is good enough to assume a more primary role?
A huge doubt must be attached to them rising to be a real factor in the series with their likely pace trio being made up of the big hearted Umar Gul with the precocious talents of Junaid Khan as his strike partner and either Ehsan Adil or Mohammud Irfan completing the attack. Conclusively none have played in South African conditions and outside of Gul, the other three have shared in 8 tests. Meaning the element that often acts as a 12th man in hotly contested series will be lacking for the Pakistan attack.
Justifiable doubts, but dispelling this is the conditions that all should thrive in and the relative unknown of the attack outside of Umar Gul for the South Africans.
A key to their success will be one staking a claiming as a leader of the attack and a justifiably ace. Gul has been a defacto at times in this role, but lacks the pristine quality of a top line quick and is better suited in the secondary role
Meet Junaid Khan, who is everything that Mohammad Amir could have been with the promise of so much more
"Good to see him the way he's performing consistently, it's a good sign for him and the team. If he keeps on doing that then we will find another great left arm fast-bowler of Wasim Akram type," ( Younis Khan )
An assessment made more compelling by who it is from in Younis Khan, a man who is not loose with his words, and only talks when something is warranted to be said. He waxed lyrically of the left armer that swings and seams it both ways at over 140kms an hour and has made great batsmen dance on Sub Continent roads
Frankly, I think he will flip the series on its ear making people see the reality in that comparison with the immortal Akram. Starting with him nullifying Graeme Smith's immense meaning to the South African batting. A great batsmen with a skeleton in his closet in his weakness against left arm swing bowler as India's Zaheer Khan has shown. At 10kms faster than Zaheer, Junaid will be a nightmare for Smith.
In the process, he will allow the excellent South African middle order to be exposed early to an eclectic assault of high skilled pace with the new ball combined with pristine calibre spin that will evaporate run rates
Set your video players to record people for the battle between the South African batting Masters and the bowling Phenomenon Junaid supported by established genius of Saeed Ajmal will be compelling!