"If you talk about South Africa's Test series against Sri Lanka recently, the pitch was different. All foreign teams struggle there, just like all Asian teams come to South Africa and struggle here. Here, the conditions are different but we do have a world-class spinner," said Sarfraz ahead of the Boxing Day Test which will be staged at SuperSport Park in Centurion.
Shah has been in impeccable bowling form this year having already scalped 37 wickets in 10 innings in 2018. He recently became the quickest bowler in the history of the game to reach 200 wickets reaching the milestone in just his 33rd Test breaking an 82-year-old record and Ahmed was confident the leg-spinner will be a tough nut to crack for the South Africans.
"He took 200 wickets in 33 Tests and we know South Africa haven't played a top-quality leg-spinner in three years. So we have an advantage, we have Yasir Shah, and hopefully, they will struggle against him," said Ahmed.
While the Pakistan side are upbeat about their chances, history does not quite support their cause. The Asian side have won just two of the 12 Tests they have played in the country, lost 10 and drawn just the one. They are also coming to South Africa on the back of a shock 2-1 defeat at the hands of New Zealand in Dubai.
However, Ahmed insisted that having a coach who has been at the helm of affairs in South Africa and knows the conditions well is bound to assist them this time around.
"We have clarity about what we'll do because we have a coach who has coached in South Africa," quipped Ahmed. "If you talk about the history of Centurion pitches, the fourth innings is very difficult here.
"Whoever wins the toss would like to bat first. No one would want to bat in the fourth innings if they're chasing over 200."
Azhar Ali also resonated his captain's thought and said that the whole side was looking forward to the three-Test series.
"The morale of the team is very good," he insisted. "Everybody is working really hard and is up for the challenge. It's a very exciting challenge obviously, which brings lots of opportunities and everyone is looking forward to it."
First Published: December 25, 2018, 6:20 PM IST