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NZ in Pakistan after 18 years for white-ball series

Last updated on: September 11, 2021 19:36 IST

New Zealand last toured Pakistan in 2003 for a white-ball series and since then have avoided touring the country because of security reasons.

 Led by Tom Latham, the New Zealand squad is missing its regular captain, Kane Williamson and other key players of their white ball formats who are either set to compete in the IPL or have taken breaks.

IMAGE: Led by Tom Latham, the New Zealand squad is missing its regular captain, Kane Williamson and other key players of their white ball formats who are either set to compete in the IPL or have taken breaks. Photograph: Hannah Peters/Getty Images

The New Zealand Cricket squad arrived in Pakistan on Saturday after 18 long years to play a bilateral ODI and T20 series in Rawalpindi and Lahore.

The visiting players were whisked away from the Islamabad international airport to their hotel amidst heavy security.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has made arrangements to have a bio-secure bubble for the New Zealand players and officials at their hotel.

 

New Zealand last toured Pakistan in 2003 for a white-ball series and since then have avoided touring the country because of security reasons.

Led by Tom Latham, the New Zealand squad is missing its regular captain, Kane Williamson and other key players of their white ball formats who are either set to compete in the IPL or have taken breaks.

Regular coach, Gary Stead has also not come with the visiting squad which will play three ODIs in Rawalpindi and five T20 internationals in Lahore.

The PCB and New Zealand Cricket have mutually agreed to change the status of next week's ODI series to a bilateral series from the ICC Cricket World Cup Super League fixtures due to the non-availability of Decision Review System (DRS), a requirement in the event playing conditions.

As New Zealand will return to Pakistan in the 2022-23 season to play two Tests and three ODIs, the two boards have agreed that these 50-over matches will now count towards the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023 qualification.

Some key players will join the New Zealand squad by tomorrow as they were not part of the squad that recently played a T20 series in Bangladesh.

Daryll Mitchell, Todd Astle, Ish Sodhi, Mark Chapman and Martin Guptill will be joining the T20 squad.

New Zealand squads:

ODI: Tom Latham (c) (wk), Finn Allen, Hamish Bennett, Tom Blundell (wk), Doug Bracewell, Colin de Grandhomme, Jacob Duffy, Matt Henry, Scott Kuggeleijn, Cole McConchie, Henry Nicholls, Ajaz Patel, Rachin Ravindra, Blair Tickner and Will Young, Ish Sodhi, Martin Guptill, Mark Chapman, Todd Astle, Daryl Mitchell.

T20 Squad: Tom Latham (c) (wk), Finn Allen, Hamish Bennett, Tom Blundell (wk), Doug Bracewell, Colin de Grandhomme, Matt Henry, Ajaz Patel, Blair Tickner, Will Young, Ish Sodhi, Martin Guptill, Mark Chapman, Todd Astle, Daryl Mitchell, Ben Sears.

‘Looking forward to what promises to be exciting series’

Former Pakistan men's cricketers and members of the current women's national team have expressed their thrill over welcoming the New Zealand team for their historic tour.

The Black Caps arrived in Pakistan on Saturday for three ODIs and five T20 Internationals. This is their first tour since 2003 when they were beaten 5-0 by the hosts in an ODI series. Former Test captain Rashid Latif recalled Shoaib Akhtar's famous spell against New Zealand and said the series is a great opportunity for the young guns to shine.

"It is great news for passionate cricket fans that New Zealand are arriving in Pakistan after a long gap. I still remember a match between Pakistan and New Zealand in Karachi when Shoaib Akhtar bowled really fast and took six wickets," Latif said in a PCB release.

"The series is a great opportunity for young Pakistan players to express their talent. I am sure fans will turn up to the stadiums in Rawalpindi and Lahore to witness exciting matches between both sides," he added.

Commenting on New Zealand's arrival, Test wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal said: "Witnessing international stars playing in front of them brings joy to the faces of the fans and I am hopeful the series will help promote the game in Pakistan."

Pakistan women's skipper Javeria Khan and all-rounder Nida Dar wished the Green Army all the luck for the New Zealand series.

"I am looking forward to what promises to be exciting series. My well-wishes are with the Men in Green and I am sure they will do well," said Nida.

"It is really encouraging for the game that New Zealand is coming to Pakistan after a long gap. In this historic series, I am backing Babar Azam and his team to win," said Javeria.

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