KARACHI: Pakistan head coach Mickey Arthur believes the Men in Green have little to fear when they take on New Zealand in testing conditions Down Under.
Arthur, speaking ahead of Pakistan’s practice match against New Zealand XI that begins on Wednesday, revealed that the players are in good shape and seem well-prepared going into the tough series.
Pakistan play five ODIs and three T20Is against New Zealand, with the ODI series starting next week on January 6 at Wellington.
“The team is in good shape; we had three training days where the bowlers bowled 15 overs apiece, which is really good as they need to get used to bowling 10 overs in such weather conditions,” he said.
Arthur believes it is the batsmen, rather than the bowlers, who need to get used to the cold weather and alien conditions much quicker if Pakistan are to be successful in this series. “The batsmen must acclimitise themselves to the local conditions,” he said. “They need to work on their defence since your defence is severely tested outside the sub-continent if you are not used to playing in these conditions. I believe our batsmen have managed to do that.”
Arthur believes the players are in peak fitness and shape, also praising the balance of the squad that he has at his disposal; believing that the selectors have done a good job.
“We are going to cope really well here,” he said confidently. “We have a very balanced team and the players who have been selected all have a clear defined role within the side. The practice match will be quite important since it will be a very good rehearsal for the upcoming series.”
However, Arthur was quick to warn his side that it won’t be easy. “Not many teams come to New Zealand and win, so it’s going to be tough for us too,” he said.
The former South Africa and Australia coach further praised the Black Caps. “New Zealand, in their home conditions, are really good,” he added. “If you look at recent results then you can see just how good they are. Every team is good is good at home so the key to being the best team these days is to be able to win away from home. Winning away defines your success more than winning at home, so this series is even more important for us. I am confident we can match them if we play to the best of our abilities.”