Pakistan and New Zealand will feature in a two-match Test series that begins with the first game at Hamilton from Friday.
The first of the two Test matches between Pakistan and New Zealand will be played at the Seddon Park in Hamilton from January 7. This is a part of the Pakistan’s tour to the Kiwiland where they have already played – and lost – a T20I series and will follow up the Tests with a series of six one day internationals.
It should be an interesting Test match given that the two teams have not had great recent times in international cricket. To go with that their Test match rankings are a lowly sixth for Pakistan and eight for New Zealand, apart from the fact that they were involved in a 1-1 tied series only a year back.
New Zealand will be pleased with the return of two of their stalwarts – an opening batsman in Brendon McCullum and the captain and their best bowler, Daniel Vettori. Both had skipped the T20I series. Fortunately for Vettori, the load would be off him given the fact that the track will assist pace bowling and the likes of Chris Martin and Tim Southee will come into their own.
Pakistan will have a relatively new captain – in Misbah ul Haq – and that may work for them given the kind of controversies most of their other players have been involved in. Misbah had led Pakistan on a lifeless couple of tracks in the Middle East and managed to eke out draws against South Africa. However, things will not be as easy on the Kiwi tracks which seam and swing around a tad – especially if the overhead weather gets the track a little moist.
There is hardly anything to choose from between the two teams.