Pak eye series win over NZ
Pakistan will set aside off-field controversies to chase their first series win in four years when the second Test begins in Wellington on Saturday, as hosts New Zealand struggle for form.cricket Updated: Jan 13, 2011 09:11 IST
Pakistan will set aside off-field controversies to chase their first series win in four years when the second Test begins in Wellington on Saturday, as hosts New Zealand struggle for form.
Unable to hold international matches at home due to security concerns and beset by corruption allegations, Pakistan have not won a Test series since defeating the West Indies in early 2007.
But after crushing the Black Caps by 10 wickets in the first Test, the tourists are in prime position to go 2-0 up and record a clean sweep in the two-match series.
Coach Waqar Younis paid tribute to his players for maintaining their focus on the pitch as team-mates Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer faced corruption hearings in Doha.
"It's not that we've been playing bad cricket, it's just that the controversy has just been following us," he said.
"It's very, very hard for the boys to keep going and keep hearing this but I'm very proud of these boys, they've stuck to the task and every morning they get up and keep positive."
Butt, Asif and Aamer are set to learn their fate when an anti-corruption tribunal into spot-fixing allegations resumes hearings on February 5.
New Zealand coach John Wright has labelled as "unacceptable" the Black Caps' performance in his first Test in charge in Hamilton, when the batting line-up was dismissed for a paltry second innings total of 110.
Critics, including former Test opener Mark Richardson, expressed concern that the focus on Twenty20 had turned New Zealand's batsmen into one-dimensional players prone to wild shots and poor decision making.
Skipper Daniel Vettori denied the accusation in the wake of the Hamilton loss but Wright later conceded the emphasis on short-form cricket could be a factor behind the batting failure.
"The talent's there but we've really got a bit of teaching to do," he told Radio Sport.
"I think the reality is that if you look at learning to bat, particularly in a Test match, we've probably been more exposed in other forms of the game."
Wright, a former Test batsman known for grinding out an innings, said his players should be desperate to occupy the crease and not give their wickets away cheaply.
Vice-captain Ross Taylor said New Zealand's batsmen "need to have a good look at themselves, myself included", suggesting Wright's passion for Test cricket made him a good role model.
"The way that John coaches and the way he comes across, he's very big on Test cricket," Taylor said.
"He had a very successful Test career for New Zealand and he was a very hard player, so hopefully that can rub off on us."
The Test series has been reduced to two matches, down from the customary three, to allow for an extended six-match one day series, which will provide a warm-up for next month's World Cup in India.
New Zealand: Daniel Vettori (captain), Brendon McCullum, Tim McIntosh, Martin Guptill, Ross Taylor, Jesse Ryder, Kane Williamson, Reece Young, Tim Southee, Brent Arnel, Chris Martin, James Franklin, Daryl Tuffey.
Pakistan: Misbah-ul-Haq (captain), Mohammad Hafeez, Taufeeq Umar, Azhar Ali, Younis Khan, Asad Shafiq, Umar Akmal, Adnan Akmal, Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rehman, Umar Gul, Tanvir Ahmed, Sohail Tanvir, Wahab Riaz.