Monday, November 14, 2016

Pakistan's Test Dominance over New Zealand

Pakistan have lost just 8 tests to New Zealand, while they have won three times as many! Pakistan have lost fewer tests only to Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. Their W:L ratio of 3.0 against New Zealand is their second best W:L ratio.

Safe to say that Pakistan have been quite dominant over the Kiwis in Test cricket.

Even in New Zealand's seaming conditions, which are alien to Pakistan's batsmen, Pakistan has dominated with 10 wins to New Zealand's 5.

Some may say that given the history of dominance, Pakistan may treat these upcoming two tests against New Zealand as a warm-up to their tour of Australia.

That may be a grave mistake.

History might be on Pakistan's side, but Trent Boult, Tim Southee, and Matt Henry are on New Zealand's.

Those three have the capability of running through any batting line up.

Pakistan's batsmen have been in sterling form for a while now so they are no pushovers, but they will have to be at the top of their game in seaming conditions.

Its not like they will be playing pokies at the source where they can try their luck.

It will be interesting to watch what batting combination Pakistan goes in with. Given the conditions in New Zealand the 5 batsmen-WK-Allrounder strategy may not work and Pakistan will have to move back to their original successful formula of 6 batsmen + WK.

Additionally, with no requirement to play an additional spinner, Nawaz may not be required.

The next question is that will Azhar Ali continue to open?

If he does, it allows Pakistan to play a middle order comprising Asad, Younis, Misbah, and the super talented Babar Azam.

If Azhar moves back to his preferred number 3 then Sharjeel will be included in the XI and Babar will have to miss out. This will also move Asad back to number 6.

This is probably going to be the most important decision that Pakistan's think tank takes on this tour.

Nevertheless, the batting definitely has a more sorted look than the bowling.

Yasir Shah along with three seamers is what the bowling will probably feature. The question is which three seamers?

Mohammad Aamer, Wahab Riaz, and Sohail Khan seems likely. But Rahat Ali was a great asset in England so maybe he will be preferred to Sohail.

The thing to look forward to with the bowling is surely Aamer's swing in New Zealand's conditions. The English summer was quite dry and Aamer barely got any swing. New Zealand might be different and it might end up being the tour that Aamer needs to bounce back to his very best in Test cricket.

Pakistan vs New Zealand has provided plenty of exciting matches in the past and this promises to be yet another exciting Test series.

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