WELLINGTON: New Zealand face an uphill task of squaring the series against Pakistan at the Basin Reserve today as the hosts need to overcome their poor record after having won just three of 13 Tests since 2000 at the venue.
Captain Daniel Vettori admits it is not a happy hunting ground for the hosts but could not offer an explanation.
“I can’t really say, I think the reason for loving it is that it’s a pure cricket ground, you usually get a good crowd, the facilities are great, and it just has that feeling you’re here to play cricket and nothing else,” said Vettori.
Meanwhile, Pakistan, 1-0 up in the two-match series, enjoy a flawless record. After drawn matches in 1973 and 1985, the tourists have won three Tests by huge margins.
“I think what coach John Wright said was crucial. He’s hit the nail on the head on a number of occasions,” said Vettori. “We understand it was a poor performance but if we get too down in the dumps then we’re not going to rectify it here. Wright has brought in that nice balance between tough words and building guys up.”
New Zealand are yet to settle on a playing eleven but there is a strong case for all-rounder James Franklin to bat at number six, with opener Tim McIntosh possibly missing out after a poor showing at Hamilton.
Pakistan are likely to go with the same side as Hamilton, said captain Misbahul Haq, whose new-look team is brimming with self belief following a drawn series against South Africa last November and the triumph in Hamilton.
“Confidence is the key in cricket, if your confidence is up you tend to perform well,” said Misbah. “Hopefully we can continue like that. We are determined to perform well and we just want to improve on our performance.”
Published in The Express Tribune, January 15th, 2011.
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