Poor past vs South Africa does not concern Pakistan captain Babar

FILE PHOTO: Cricket - Second T20 International - England v Pakistan - Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - August 30, 2020 Pakistan's Babar Azam in action Lindsey Parnaby/Pool via REUTERS

(Reuters) - Pakistan captain Babar Azam is aware that his side have a poor a record against South Africa in tests but he is confident that the past will count for nothing when the two teams meet in the opening test in Karachi from Tuesday.

South Africa, led by Quinton de Kock, will play their first test in Pakistan since 2007 and have lost only four out of 26 matches against their opponents.

"We should not think about past, we should focus on what's ahead of us," Babar told reporters. "We have nothing to do with what happened on previous matches.

"It's a fact that we don't have a good record against them, but we have prepared well this time and we hope to give our best against them."

Pakistan named nine uncapped players in their squad for the two tests while the visiting side also introduced a number of new faces during a 2-0 home victory over Sri Lanka in their previous series.

Babar, Pakistan's batting mainstay, missed his team's 2-0 blanking in New Zealand and will instead make his test captaincy debut at home although in front of empty stands.

"I missed out in New Zealand, unfortunately I became unfit," Babar said. "It's a proud moment for me to make my (test) captaincy debut in my own country.

"South Africa is a good team. You can never take them lightly, they are a top team. But we are also a strong side. The conditions will suit us more because most of us have grown up playing here."

Babar did not divulge the playing 11 for the first test but said the hosts had a clear idea of the combination they want to use against South Africa.

The second test will be played between the sides in Rawalpindi from Feb. 4, followed by a three-match Twenty20 series in Lahore from Feb. 11-14.

(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Christian Radnedge)

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