It has been 19 years since the last New Zealand team played on Pakistani soil, a long time have passed in the International Cricket during which New Zealand have witnessed the rise of its golden generation of players. The visit will help Pakistani spectators witness the likes of Kane Williamson, Trent Boult and Tim Southee for the first time in person
Cricket in Pakistan has seen tough time’s post 2009, following the terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan players there was a barren run of seasons where Pakistan Cricket Board struggled to get teams. Amid the days of gloom tours of Kenya, Zimbabwe and World XI were welcomed. Then with the successful organisation of Pakistan Super league (PSL) on Pakistani Soil, teams started to gain confidence on touring the country.
With Sri Lanka, West Indies, South Africa, Australia, and England successfully touring the Country, New Zealand were the only high-profile team left to tour Pakistan. The tour is historic not only because it will be first time in two decades that New Zealand will be touring Pakistan, but it will be the first time players like Kane Williamson, Tim Southee and Trent Boult will be playing on Pakistani soil in spite of having such a long and illustrious career.
On playing front, New Zealand has a big challenge on hand. While in recent years (post 2009) they have a successful record against Pakistan at home and away from home, in UAE but the challenge to win in Pakistan in front of home crowd would be different.
New Zealand tour of Pakistan: an evenly poised contest with tons of excitement
New Zealand had faced difficult times in previous tours of Pakistan. In spite of being senior Test team to Pakistan they were mauled in first two Test tours to the country. It was only in 1969-70 series under the captaincy of Graham Dowling that New Zealand created history by winning their first ever Tests series in Pakistan. Over the next three tours spanning between 1970-1990, the side once again lost by considerable margins. In 1990-91 they were whitewashed.
The 1996-97 Test series was successful one for the team as they notched up their second Test win in the country though they failed to win the series as Mohammad Zahid rocked them on debut. In 2002, Shoaib Akhtar and Inzamam-ul-Haq dominated the Lahore Test. It would be a match that New Zealand would lose by a record margin.
New Zealand tour of Pakistan will consist of two Tests, eight ODIs and five T20 Internationals. Interestingly, the games shall happen over two tours, which will take place in December 2022 and April 2023.
The challenge to sustain the performance is even bigger on such a long tour. At a time when New Zealand have seen some of its most consistent performers bidding goodbye to the game, Ross Taylor, BJ Watling and Colin de Grandhomme, the young players will face enormous task to defy a rampaging Pakistan side. It is however not impossible to defeat Pakistan at home as Australia showed on their last tour to the country.
New Zealand tour of Pakistan: a sterling past
Result aside the home fans would be happy to witness the New Zealand tour of Pakistan at last. Both the teams have been involved in some memorable tussles in years gone by.
Who can forget Simon Doull’s 5-46 at Gaddafi Stadium in 1996, which scripted their first victory in Pakistan after 27 years? Likewise, who can turn a blind eye to the fighting hundred from a 19-year-old Mohammad Wasim on debut, which also occurred in the same match?
Probably, neither one can forget a blistering Mohammad Zahid, who picked 11-130 on Test debut at Rawalpindi in 1996 or the fearsome Waqar Younis, who picked 29 wickets in three Tests during 1990-91 series.
A lot has happened between the two strong and dominant sides. A lot is left to happen as New Zealand tour of Pakistan has now been confirmed but not long after a painful wait of nearly two decades.
Whatever the results of the series, here’s what’s sure: we are in for some mouthwatering contests as both sides are evenly matched and are just as hungry for success.