Strife-torn Pakistan ideal foe for Black Caps

Saturday, December 25, 2010

AUCKLAND - John Wright could hardly have asked for a better start to his return to international cricket coaching than an series against a strife-torn Pakistan team starting here tomorrow.

The Black Caps are also not in the rosiest of positions from a form point of view, having lost their last 11 one-day internationals, and so any improvement will be welcome, reports.

Pakistan is a team struggling to be taken seriously after being wracked by charges of spot-fixing, ball-biting, a cricket administration in shambles with players being suspended for life then reinstated, another fleeing the team in fear of his life for London to seek asylum.

This is, therefore, Wright’s best chance to reinvigorate the national team and enable the players to regain some of the respect of the cricketing public lost during their dismal one-day run.

Playing at home is a big tick and Pakistan are fielding far from their strongest side with a number of stars - including the alleged three spot-fixers, Salman Butt, Mohammad Aamir and Mohammad Asif - still at home.

Others including Kamran Akmal and Danish Kanieria have not been cleared by Pakistan cricket’s “integrity” committee - try to take that one seriously.

That said, Pakistan still have enough quality players in their teams to test New Zealand, including Younis Khan, Umar Akmal, Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal, Misbah Ul-Haq and veteran pace bowler Shoaib Akhtar.

The New Zealand players will enter the series on edge after the coaching upheavals of the past week.

The preferences of captain Daniel Vettori no longer hold sway after New Zealand Cricket was forced into making changes. (ANI)

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