A test in November, for the first time in NZ!

The one day series in Abu Dhabi was a good enough warm up for Bond’s return to the test fold.Now that Mills is ruled out, Bond will be back, just as KP was brought back before schedule. One would expect the pitches to be lively as it’s early summer in Kiwiland and the battle between the fastmen should decide the outcome of the series.

Ross Taylor is long long due and he has to deliver this time around and if Flynn, Guptill and McCullum can put up big scores, Pakistan will be under pressure. Captain Mohammad Yousuf has already expressed concerns over the early summer tracks.

In case the pitches are going to be a liitle hard and offer turn, it’s advantage Pakistan. NZ batsmen’s handling of spin looked pathetic in Abu Dhabi.
Both Kaneria and Ajmal find a place in the enormous eighteen man squad. I think Ajmal will struggle to be effective  in New Zealand.Kaneria should be a bigger threat. None of the Kiwi batsmen had any clue to Shahid Afridi’s googlies in the one dayers.
In the 18 man squad, Asif, Gul and Aaameer are the only frontline pacers. Yasir Arafat and Abdur Rauf bowl medium pace and there’s no Rana Naved. The squad has 2 wicket keepers, 3 fast bowlers, 2 spinners and 8 batsmen. And Rauf, Malik and Arafat are the ‘allrounders’. Very interesting selection indeed!
Given this squad, this would be my eleven although I would have wanted Misbah in place of Shoib Malik, Younis Khan in place of Salman Butt and Rana Naved in Aameer’s spot.
Imran Farhat
Khurram Manzoor
Salman Butt
Mohammad Yousuf
Umer Akmal
Shoib Malik
Kamran Akmal
Mohammad Asif
Umer Gul
Danish Kaneria
Mohammad Aameer

NZ did very well to win the one day series 2-1. It was clear exhibition of the difference in attitudes between a sub-continental side and a side from down under. Sri Lanka to me is the most consistent Asian country. Pakistan couldn’t chase down 212 in the final one dayer and that’s a shame. Younis Khan looked in awful form but I’m sure there’s something apart from his batting that’s keeping him out of the side now. A three test series in New Zealand is huge for Younis and if he’s skipping that, the reasons have to be as huge. Only MSD can skip a three test series for the one dayers and the T20s.
There was no maturity shown by the Pakistan batsmen and they simply crumbled under pressure. Shoib Malik was playing as though it was a friendly inter school game.
Tim Southee showed good discipline in his comeback. He’s lost some pace though. Young fast bowlers shouldn’t be fed with too much of theory from the  coaches. The pace is coming down too early in their careers. Irfan Pathan is a fine example of that.
McCullum finally converted starts into big scores.It’s high time Taylor did that. I’m sure Dan is going to get a bunch of wickets with his arm ball. None of the Pakistani batsmen are picking it and there are a lot of LBWs in store for him.

Oh and I was listening to Boycott and Greig together from the box, after a decade.

The Umpire Decision Review system is making it’s debut here. The ICC has convinced the broadcasters to bear the extra costs involved and that’s an achievement. They have to force the other boards as well to implement the system. If NZ can agree to it, why can’t South Africa, Australia and India? They have much more money.

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