Each time these two equally balanced sides compete one can always expect good competition but the level of excitement for a series involving Pakistan & New Zealand lacks a bit of flavor and looks like a mere formality to complete a future tour program. Nevertheless this series will be particularly important for Pakistan because they will be playing there second full series in two years, the series is also vital for the newly appointed Mohammad Yousuf who will want to cement his position as a captain of this young Pakistani side for the upcoming season.
If we look at the line up of the Pakistani team it seems as if each player is fighting for his spot including the captain himself. This test series is a perfect preparation for a tough season ahead of them with matches against Australia & England. Pakistan is currently placed 6th in the ICC rankings with 84 points & New Zealand is placed 7th with 80 points. Folks don’t forget that New Zealand has been only able to beat Bangladesh in the last 11 series since the 2006/2007 season, this says a lot about New Zealand.
Both the teams will be banking on their bowlers to get then 20 wickets, Pakistan is blessed with young Mohammed Aamer who seems to be stealing the spotlight more often & has just begun his career, Mohammad Asif, Shane Bond & Darel Tuffey will be making come backs much for the relief of their captains & fans. Both teams are also blessed with good spinners in Daniel Vettori & Saeed Ajmal. Mhammad Yousuf will be particularly targeted by Daniel Vettori as we are well aware of how suspect Yousuf can be against the left arm spinners, and it was evident in Sri Lanka where Herath got his wicket on 3 occasions & the Lankans were also able to run him out twice. Pakistan will be missing Younis Khan not only for his captaincy but for his world class test batting, slip catching & the recently discovered Seam Bowling, just like Pakistan the kiwis will be short of a coach although they won the ODI series convincingly but modern day cricket always demands for a coach who can give his input on vital moments of the game.
The pressure will be more on Mohammad Yousuf as compared to Vettori, it will be a test of character for Mohamad Yousuf of how he will come up with the extra responsibility of a captain on his shoulders. Shoaib Malik, Salman Butt & Fawad Alam will hold the key for Pakistan by playing sensible innings and occupying the crease for long times this will allow Kamran Akmal & Umar Akmal to play there natural aggressive game, although Pakistan is blessed with plenty of talent in the batting department but has always been suspect of a collapse, same is the case for New Zealand who can collapse on any day, Peter Fulton is called back to the New Zealand squad to strengthen the batting and he will have to occupy the crease with Daniel Flynn and Tim McIntosh to allow the likes of Ross Taylor, Brendon McCullum and Daniel Vettori show some aggression.
I would conclude by saying that Pakistan has a more talented team and if they can handle the pressure they can beat any team on a given day, the records is also in Pakistan’s favor since they have won the last 4 out of 5 series against New Zealand in their own backyard, the last win for the kiwis came way back in 1984/1985 in hard fought series where they won by 2-1. Lets hope for the best for our Majestic Lions.
New Zealand team:
Strengths: Bowling, Captaincy and fielding.
Weaknesses: Batting, No Coach.
Weaknesses: Batting, Captaincy & Slip Catching.
Posted by HR
8 years ago