KARACHI: Incessant rain and a wet ground for the third successive day forced the abandonment of Pakistan’s only warm-up game against New Zealand A in Nelson without a single ball being bowled.
The tourists go into the first Test of the two-match series at Christchurch’s Hagley Oval from November 17 without any match practice in New Zealand conditions under their belts.
Pakistan are seeking to extend a proud record which sees them unbeaten in New Zealand for 31 years and selector Tauseef Ahmed feels the players have the experience and pedigree to make up for the lack of match practice by working harder in the nets.
“The abandonment of the warm-up match is unfortunate but I feel we have a highly professional and capable team management that will ensure that the players make the most of the nets and indoor sessions before the first Test,” he said.
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Tauseef added that most of the players in the Test side have played in New Zealand conditions before and are equipped to deal with the challenges that the weather and pitches will offer.
“I am hopeful that our team will cope with the conditions considering their previous knowledge of playing in New Zealand,” he said. “The Test team is filled with players who boast a wealth of experience, which should come in handy when they take the field in Christchurch.”
‘Management must decide on Nawaz’
Tauseef feels the team management must ascertain if they need an all-rounder in the eleven or return to their previous combination of seven batsmen and four bowlers, especially since batting all-rounder Mohammad Nawaz failed to impress during the three-match series against the West Indies.
“Nawaz was inducted in the squad on the request of the team management, I am sure they will assess his role and whether they need to play him,” he said.
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‘Shafiq may return to his old number six spot’
The former off-spinner also feels a decision needs to be made over middle-order batsman Asad Shafiq’s batting position after the right-hander bagged a pair against the West Indies batting at number three in Sharjah.
The Karachi-born had scored a century in the Oval win against England batting at number four but most of his best performances have been at number six.
“Shafiq is a fine player and his partnerships with Sarfraz Ahmed lower down the order were greatly beneficial to the team; we need to assess if he needs to return to that role or bat at number three,” he said. “I feel there’s a likelihood of him returning to his old spot.”
The Pakistan squad will travel from Nelson to Christchurch today while the preparations for the first Test are expected to commence from tomorrow.
Pakistan team escorted out of hotel after New Zealand earthquake
Team escorted out of hotel after earthquake
The players were escorted off their hotel in Nelson after an earthquake of 7.4 magnitude struck Christchurch and adjoining areas yesterday.
“We are currently in Nelson and were scheduled to leave for Christchurch yesterday but couldn’t depart due to the earthquake,” team manager Waseem Bari told The Express News.
(With additional input from News Desk)
Published in The Express Tribune, November 14th, 2016.
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courtesy : express tribune