SAEED Ajmal, the Pakistani spinner renowned for his doosra, subtle changes of pace and line, does not have the Proteas cricketers ringing alarm bells. But they will be well prepared tomorrow for the 34-year-old who is regarded as one of the best slow bowlers in cricket today.
"We will discuss him over the next couple of days," Proteas assistant coach Russell Domingo said yesterday.
He said the South Africans had worked hard over the past few days on batting against spin. "We know that playing spin would be crucial at these stages of the competition. We will have some plans and they will be revealed [tomorrow]."
South Africa's first match in the Super Eight, the business end of this World T20, will be against Pakistan, who were one of the last qualifiers. They secured their place on Tuesday night with a comfortable win over Bangladesh.
Pakistan, who won the tournament in 2009, have more than just Ajmal, whose exclusion from the shortlist for two top awards at the recent International Cricket Council awards caused outrage in his homeland.
They also have Mohammad Hafeez, Shahid Afridi, Imran Nazir and explosive young batsman Nasir Jamshed in their ranks.
"We don't want to get too carried away with what they have got," Domingo said. "We are a side that tries to focus on our game, and what we can control. We are fully aware of their skills, but we have the skills to counter theirs.
"They have a good mix, good spinners and good experience with their seamers in Umar Gul and Yasir Arafat. So we know they are a dangerous side."
Domingo said there would be no specific team plan to play Ajmal, but more of an "each to his own" approach.
"Some might sweep, reverse-sweep, some might use their feet, others go deep into the crease. It's very different to each player I suppose, and that is the beauty of our batting line-up.
"We have lots of variety and different sets of skills unique to each player. We have some really good options against the spinners."
With Australia and India standing in line, Domingo knows the importance of getting a victory first up. Lose one match and you are under pressure, lose two and you are on the plane back home. It's that simple.
"In T20 cricket, it can change within a ball or an over. We really want to start the Super Eight well, we don't want to play catch-up cricket.
"There are so many things that can affect the outcome of a T20 game, so we really just want to focus on our processes and preparation and not worry too much about the result on Friday."
The pitch at the Premadasa looks to be a good surface.
The locals seem to think there is going to be some pace and bounce early on, which would obviously please South Africa if they win the toss.