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New look Black Caps out to face Pak

Chris Cairns led a new look New Zealand cricket team to play a challenging five-match series against Pakistan starting with the day-night match.

india Updated: Nov 28, 2003 20:18 IST

All-rounder Chris Cairns led a new look New Zealand cricket team to play a challenging five-match one-day series against a settling Pakistan team starting with the day-night fixture here on Saturday.

"We have things to achieve on this tour and we are not here to be second but we know Pakistan will provide challenge in different ways for our inexperienced side but we look forward to various challenges," said Cairns in a press conference.

The 15-man New Zealand squad arrived early Friday morning amidst tight security on a tour which initially ran into trouble after four Black Cap players pulled out over security fears.

Craig McMillan, Scot Styris, Ian Butler and Lou Vincent pulled out of the tour after they received threats from an anonymous emailer.

Two possible replacements -- Andre Adams and Matthew Horne -- also refused to tour while regular captain Stephen Fleming, pacer Shane Bond and opener Nathan Astle are nursing injuries.

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) only agreed to the tour after the Pakistan Cricket Borad (PCB) postponed the series by a week and also threatened to pull out of their next months reply tour of New Zealand.

The current tour itself is a compensation of Black Caps' abandoned tour of last year after a suicide bomb blast killed 14 people in May last year in southern port city of Karachi.

Tama Canning, Matthew Walker and Craig Cumming are uncapped while Hamish Marshall and Kerry Walmsley have been recalled after long spells in the wilderness.

"We are serious about what we want to achieve from the tour. I think its a good opportunity for some of the blokes with respect to have the feel of international cricket," said Cairns.

Cairns, not on the cut short tour last year, along with veteran all-rounder Chris Harris, Jacob Oram, Daryl Tuffey, Daniel Vettori and Matthew Sinclair provide the experience to the side.

"We start the series as underdogs and under their conditions with the win against South Africa under their belt so its a big challenge but one that we try to tackle," said Cairns who has led New Zealand in just two one-day games.

Cairns and coach Ashley Ross parried questions on security and said it should be left to NZC chief executive Martin Snedden who is also on the tour.

"There should be no excuse of any distraction and come Saturday we give it the best shot," said Cairns.

Lahore will also stage the second match on December 1 while Faisalabad will host the third match on December 3.

The last two games will be played at Rawalpindi on December 5 and 7.

Pakistan is also depleted with opener Taufeeq Umer missing the series due to knee injury while express pacer Shoaib Akhtar will miss the first two matches through suspension handed during Pakistans 1-0 Test win over South Africa last month.

"We will definitely miss Umer and Shoaib in the first two matches but we have good back-ups and would do our best to win the series," said Pakistan skipper Inzamam-ul Haq.

Haq dispelled the impression New Zealand could be taken lightly.

"You cant take any team easy in international cricket, once you do that you get the beating," said Haq.

Teams:

New Zealand: Chris Cairns (captain), Tama Canning, Craig Cumming, Chris Harris, Paul Hitchcock, Richard Jones, Hamish Marshall, Brendon McCullum, Jacob Oram, Matthew Sinclair, Daryl Tuffey, Daniel Vettori, Matthew Walker, Kerry Walmsley, Michael Mason

Pakistan: Inzamam-ul-Haq (captain), Imran Farhat, Saleem Elahi, Yasir Hameed, Yousuf Youhana, Shoaib Malik, Abdul Razzaq, Azhar Mahmood, Moin Khan, Danish Kaneria, Shabbir Ahmed, Mohammad Sami, Shoaib Akhtar, Misbah-ul-Haq, Umer Gul

Umpires: David Orchard (RSA) and Aleem Dar (PAK)

Tv umpire: Asad Rauf (PAK)

Match referee: Denis Lindsay (RSA)

First Published: Nov 28, 2003 20:10 IST