Pak well prepared: Arthur

Mickey Arthur

Karachi: Pakistan head coach Mickey Arthur believes his players are in good shape at the moment and are well prepared heading into a tough series against New Zealand, beginning Saturday at the Basin Reserve in Wellington.

Talking prior to Pakistan's warm-up match against New Zealand that begins on Wednesday, the former South Africa and Australia coach insisted his side would have little to fear when they square off with the Black Caps in testing conditions.

"The team is in a good shape. We had three days of training 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. So, we are well prepared," Arthur was quoted as saying.

Arthur, meanwhile, said the onus would be on batsmen, rather than the bowlers, to get accustomed to the conditions this time around. The Pakistan coach called on his batsmen to work on their defence if Pakistan wanted to succeed outside the subcontinent.

"The batsmen must acclimatise themselves to the local conditions. They need to work on their defence since your defence is severely tested outside the subcontinent if you are not used to playing in these conditions. But I believe our batsmen have managed to do that," he said.

Expressing confidence on his side's preparations, Arthur said Pakistan have a very balanced squad at the moment and that all are very clear about the roles they have to play.

"We are going to cope really well here. We have a very balanced team and the players who have been selected have a clear, defined role within the side.

"The practice match, though, will be quite important since it will be a very good rehearsal for the upcoming series," he said.

Pakistan are slated to play five ODIs and three T20Is against New Zealand.

Arthur admitted that New Zealand, who have only lost one ODI series - against South Africa - at home since 2014 and have beaten Australia thrice, Pakistan twice, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and West Indies once each in that period, will be tough nuts to crack.

"New Zealand in their conditions are an incredible team," said Arthur, who took charge of the Pakistan team in May 2016. "Every team is good at home, but the real challenge is to be good on away tours. If we play to our ability, then we can match them."

A confident Arthur announced the XI for the warm-up game, hoping to lend the consistency that has characterised Pakistan's recent selections. The same XI is likely to play the first ODI as well.

"We have announced the team for tomorrow. It's about consistency now," added Arthur.

Captain Sarfraz Ahmed, too, in his pre-departure media conference, had expressed confidence in his team. "The team is united and we are all eagerly looking forward to the series against a very good New Zealand side," Sarfraz had said.

"Even though we will be without Imad (Wasim), Junaid (Khan) and Usman (Khan Shinwari), who were clearly our go-to bowlers in the past series, I have full confidence in this bowling attack to do well in New Zealand. I hope the replacements will be able to live up to the expectations." Agencies


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