Photo Credit: Pakistan Cricket Board
Pakistan white-ball vice-captain Shadab Khan is optimistic the national side will make the most of the home advantage when they take on New Zealand in the three-match One-Day International series from 17 September at the Pindi Cricket Stadium.
This will be Black Caps’ first visit of the country after 18 years and the hosts are eager to repeat the heroics they displayed when New Zealand last visited the country when the five-match ODI series – the last two matches of which were played in Rawalpindi – ended in Pakistan winning the series 5-0.
The ODIs are followed by five T20 Internationals at Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium, which will help Pakistan in continuing their preparations for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. “We will try to utilise our home conditions and our main objective is to prepare ourselves for upcoming global event,” Shadab said. “We have made significant strides in ODIs and our aim is to work on the weak areas and improve ourselves across formats.”
Shadab emphasised the team’s focus will be to play with aggressive and positive intent. These three ODIs are part of ICC Men’s World Cup Super League and are the only 50-over assignment of the national side before they depart for the United Arab Emirates for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, where they will play India in their tournament opener on 24 October.
“Babar Azam [Pakistan white-ball captain] and I always emphasise on aggressive and fearless cricket,” the 22-year-old said. “Though, results haven’t been in our favour to date, we are developing a culture where aggressive and modern-day cricket remains our core strategy.”
Including five shorter format matches against New Zealand, Pakistan will play seven T20Is, last two of which are against Eoin Morgan’s England, before the global event.
Shadab said Pakistan have a good record in T20I cricket in the UAE and the presence of Saqlain Mushtaq in the coaching set-up will prove to be beneficial for the spinners ahead of the T20 World Cup.
“We have a good track record in the UAE,” he said. “We have some good quality spinners in our squad and above all inclusion of Saqlain Mushtaq for New Zealand series will be very useful before the T20 World Cup.”