RAWALIPNDI: Pakistan captain Babar Azam (L) and his New Zealand counterpart Tom Latham pose with the ODI collection trophy on the Pindi Cricket Stadium on Thursday.—Tanveer Shahzad/White StarRAWALPINDI: There’s a contact of historical past linked with Friday’s opening One-day Worldwide between Pakistan and New Zealand on the Pindi Cricket Stadium right here in Rawalpindi.
Name them the Black Caps of contemporary or the Kiwis of the period passed by, that is the New Zealand’s first tour to Pakistan after a gaping span of almost 18 years. Within the cricketing annals, Sunday, Feb 11, 1973 was a momentous day — it was the joint ODI debut of each New Zealand and Pakistan, simply two years after the format was launched on the worldwide degree.
And though New Zealand gained that 40-over (when eight balls constituted an over in some international locations) recreation at Christchurch’s Lancaster Park — exactly 17,750 days in the past — by 22 runs, Pakistan haven’t lagged behind thereafter and now are forward within the head-to-head rely, successful 55 occasions to New Zealand’s 48.
The final time New Zealand have been in Pakistan on the finish of 2003, they disappeared and not using a hint throughout a 5-Zero drubbing by the house crew, and have gained simply thrice — by one run Sialkot, 1976; 34 runs, Sialkot 1984 and 7 wickets Karachi 1996 — in 20 earlier fixtures whereas visiting these shores.
Whereas the collection is now decreased to a bilateral contest within the absence of the DRS facility, there are nonetheless worrying indicators for Pakistan for the sterner take a look at forward — the Twenty20 World Cup within the United Arab Emirates and Oman.
As of now, nonetheless, Pakistan have had a rocky run into the most recent ODI collection, each on and off the sphere. An England aspect, robbed of various their first-choice stars, whitewashed Babar Azam’s aspect 3-0. On high of it, Misbah-ul-Haq resigned as head coach whereas bowling coach Waqar Younis additionally give up concurrently.
Saqlain Mushtaq, the inventor of ‘doosra’ and PCB’s head of worldwide participant improvement, has been slotted in because the interim head coach with fellow ex-Pakistan participant Abdul Razzaq taking the bowling coach’s function.
So preparation-wise, Pakistan — regardless of claims of the whole lot being in management — are set to tread a tightrope towards a aspect which is presently on the pinnacle of the Worldwide Cricket Council’s ODI rankings. High weapons like common captain Kane Williamson, Trent Boult, Kyle Jamieson, Lockie Ferguson and Tim Southee are unavailable as a consequence of varied commitments whereas seasoned campaigner Ross Taylor has been rested, forward of a busy season for New Zealand.
And regardless of being denied providers of wicket-keeper Tom Blundell for the ODI leg by way of harm, the Tom Latham-led Black Caps have known as up Daryl Mitchell from the T20 squad; the all-rounder although would solely grow to be eligible for choice from second ODI onwards.
The prospects of the straw-coloured pitch — as evident on the match eve — aiding spin greater than the rest and Pakistan opting to subject no less than two leg-spinners from the trio introduced within the 12-man celebration on Wednesday, New Zealand are sure to financial institution on all-rounder Cole McConchie — who bowls off-spin and is right here within the absence of left-handed all-rounder Mitchell Santner — and Ajaz Patel, the sluggish left-armer who’s coming off good T20 collection in Dhaka.
Pakistan captain Babar Azam refused to take the bait of ‘go-easy’ feeling, whereas admitting his crew wished to play New Zealand at full energy.
“For sure, we were looking forward to an enthralling battle against them when the series was confirmed. But nonetheless, Pakistan will not underestimate this New Zealand side either and we’ve got to play our best cricket to defeat them,” Babar stated throughout Thursday’s pre-series digital information convention. “One will see a different Pakistan team which will play ‘fearless’ cricket against New Zealand.”
The Pakistan captain, who nonetheless is discovering his approach because the ODI chief after successful solely 4 of 9 matches, negated the impression that leg-spin can be Pakistan’s forte.
“Nothing of that sort. We are mindful of the World Cup also coming up and therefore, it was decided that we should gain practice as much as possible in conditions akin to what Pakistan would get in the UAE,” Babar insisted.
“We shortlisted three leg-spinners because [Mohammad] Nawaz became unavailable due to Covid-19 and is currently in isolation,” the skipper stated of the left-handed all-rounder.
Babar additionally expressed optimism over Pakistan’s detached fielding since Steve Rixon left the scene in 2018.
“I know this has been a lingering issue for us over the past couple of years,” the captain conceded. “But having said that I feel there is some improvement. However, there is still some way to go where we can assert ourselves as a good fielding unit.”
Each the groups had remaining apply in late afternoon shortly after rival skippers unveiled the collection trophy on a day when the mercury touched mid-30s — the feel-like temperature was a most 39-degree Celsius — whereas the air was fairly sizzling.
In the meantime in a welcome change, the beforehand disagreeable sight of barren concrete stands on either side exterior the bottom, adjoining to the stands on both aspect of the 2 principal buildings, has been tastefully embellished with short-term chairs of assorted-colour clothes. It means the 25 per cent formally allowed for the collection will see round 4,500 spectators flip up on every of the three match days.
PAKISTAN: Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam (captain), Saud Shakeel, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Rizwan, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf, Usman Qadir, Zahid Mahmood
NEW ZEALAND: Tom Latham (captain), Rachin Ravindra, Finn Allen, Will Younger, Henry Nicholls, Daryl Mitchell, Colin de Grandhomme, Doug Bracewell, Cole McConchie, Scott Kuggeleijn, Matt Henry, Hamish Bennett, Blair Tickner, Ajaz Patel, Jacob Duffy
Umpires: Aleem Dar (Pakistan) and Ahsan Raza (Pakistan)
TV umpire: Asif Yaqoob (Pakistan)
Match referee: Mohammad Javed Malik (Pakistan)
Printed in Daybreak, September 17th, 2021