Abu Dhabi, Oct 29 (ANI): South Africa and Pakistan are all set to gear up for next year's World Cup with a five-match one-day series starting in the UAE today.
The Proteas are in top form after thrashing Pakistan in the two Twenty20 matches in a prelude to the 50-over matches, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
South Africa captain Graeme Smith noted that his side would experience the "sub-continent conditions" ahead of the 2011 World Cup starting in February, which is to be jointly hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
"It will be the first taste of the sub-continent conditions before the World Cup," Smith said of the one-day series against Pakistan.
"South Africa is keen on the development of the side before the World Cup and are excited to be here," he added.
The skipper also expressed the hope that the focus would remain on the game in the wake of the spot-fixing allegations plaguing Pakistan and the cricket world as a whole.
"We hope cricket would be played the right way and in the end it will be cricket that makes the headlines for the performances on the field," said Smith, whose team is playing in the UAE for the first time since 2000.
Three Pakistani players- Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer- were suspended by the International Cricket Council (ICC) over claims of spot-fixing during Lord's Test against England last August.
Pakistan's ODI skipper Shahid Afridi admitted that Pakistan would miss the three suspended players.
"There is no doubt that they are our key players and we are going to miss them, but we have plenty of talent and we will try our best to overcome that loss because the World Cup is so close," he said.
He also said that his players were focused on the task at hand.
"What happened on the England tour is now past and this is a new series and a new challenge for which we are fully focused," said Afridi.
The two countries will also play two Tests in Dubai and Abu Dhabi in a series shifted to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) due to security fears in Pakistan. (ANI)