Pakistan will go into the upcoming One-day International series against New Zealand with a lot of depth in their squad, Black Caps’ pacer Matt Henry has said.
The hosts take on the visiting New Zealanders in three ODI’s from September 17 in Rawalpindi before they play a five-match Twenty 20 International series in Lahore.
Henry especially heaped praise on the Pakistan bowling line-up which features the likes of pacers Shaheen Shah Afridi, Hassan Ali and Shahnawaz Dahani, who was the highest wicket-taker in the last edition of the Pakistan Super League. “If you look at them over the last few years there has been a great stock of fast-bowlers as well,” Henry said during a press conference on Sunday.
He said the success of Pakistan’s fast-bowlers is also due to the nature of the playing surfaces in the country, which the visitors will also look to exploit. “Whilst I haven’t been here before but the fact that they are producing some great quicks here means that hopefully the surfaces might have something for us too so I am looking forward to what’s out there too.”
Henry said Pakistan captain Babar Azam is not the only batsman who is a threat for them in the hosts’ side. He said that his team are going to prepare well, knowing the skillset possessed by other Pakistan batsmen. “Not only Babar Azam but the rest of the side has guys with a lot of experience and they are very strong as well, so we are doing our preparations under the knowledge that they will be very strong under their own conditions.”
New Zealand’s last assignment was a five-match T20I series against Bangladesh, which they lost 3-2. Bangladesh’s domination was heavily supported by the spin-friendly pitches prepared by them.
Henry said the Pakistan tour will be different from their previous campaign and hoped the batsmen will accumulate more runs. “I thought the guys did a great job in Bangladesh in very challenging conditions but as the series got on the guys did score some important runs but everyone understands that the tour of Pakistan will be completely different, with wickets being a little more batting friendly but the bowlers will be in the game just as much so we are all excited about playing some cricket here.”
The pacer said though New Zealand’s squad is fairly inexperienced, with their talismanic captain Kane Williamson and veteran middle-order batsman Ross Taylor rested, it features some players who have experience of playing in conditions similar to that of Pakistan.
He said the Bangladesh series has also helped them prepare for the latest challenge. “We have got new guys in the squad who would have gained a lot from their experience in Bangladesh which will be brilliant coming into this series,” he said. “But we still have a lot of players who have played a lot of cricket in different conditions including the UAE, India and other sub-continental conditions and they will have a bit of a better understanding in terms of what to expect and I am really excited about the chance of playing here in Pakistan.
“There is definitely a good buzz around the team; The way the guys adapted to the conditions in Bangladesh was a great sign for this squad and has helped us move to Pakistan with confidence”