Home Sports News ‘Not underestimating Pakistan’ NZ coach expects ‘hard-fought’ Test series

‘Not underestimating Pakistan’ NZ coach expects ‘hard-fought’ Test series


KARACHI: New Zealand head coach Gary Stead has expressed that his side will not underestimate Pakistan in their home country despite their recent failure against England that ended in a 3-0 series whitewash. 

Stead said that Pakistan could not be beaten easily and it was unfortunate for the side that they lost some of their key players because of the injuries during the England series.

“We are more focused on what we can do, so I expect there are gonna be tight Test matches, hard-fought and may be very very close, like the last ones versus England,” he said in a press talk on Friday.

New Zealand will play a Test series against Pakistan for the first time on the latter’s home soil after 20 years, starting on December 26 with the first Test in Karachi.

As New Zealand kicked off their training today at National Bank Cricket Arena, Stead said the training would be important for them in the next few days, adding for most of the players in their group it was their first time in Pakistan.

“We know that our rivalry with Pakistan is fantastic. It’s always friendly on the field but fearlessly competitive” he maintained.

Talking about the conditions in Pakistan, he mentioned that they were very different from the ones in New Zealand, saying: “We picked out squad thinking that a leg spinner (Ish Sodhi) will be important, obviously (after) seeing Abrar (Ahmed) and (Zahid) Mahmood bowling well for Pakistan in the recent series.”

The New Zealand head coach further expressed that spinners would play a major in the series but there are also sign of early reverse swing, so honing the skills in those areas would be vital for them.

With Tim Southee taking the reign of the Test side following Kane Williamson’s decision to step down as New Zealand captain after being in charge for around six years, Stead said the new captain had a great cricketing brain.

“Looking forward to seeing how he (Southee) manages this side through this series, particularly as his first” he added.

New Zealand Test squad for Pakistan: Tim Southee (c), Michael Bracewell, Tom Blundell (wk), Devon Conway, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Henry Nicholls, Ajaz Patel, Glenn Phillips, Ish Sodhi, Blair Tickner, Neil Wagner, Kane Williamson, Will Young.

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