New Zealand captain expecting exciting series in Pakistan

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ISLAMABAD: New Zealand fast bowler Matt Henry expressed the hope on Sunday that the playing conditions in Pakistan would be much better to what the tourists encountered during their just-ended Twenty20 International series in Bangladesh.

Addressing a virtual news conference a day after the visiting squad arrived for their first tour of Pakistan in 18 years, Henry said the upcoming white-ball series of three One-day Internationals and the five-match Twenty20 rubber would be exciting.

“It has been a long time since we last played in Pakistan,” Henry said. “I know that all the guys are really excited to come here and play in different conditions. We know that we’re going to be up against a pretty strong Pakistan side in their own backyard.”

“The conditions in Bangladesh [in the T20 series] were extremely challenging for batting. Hopefully, we expect the surfaces in Pakistan to be more friendly not just for the batters but also the fast bowlers because I heard there is more carry and pace in the pitches here than we encountered in Dhaka,” the 29-year-old hoped.

“So I think we have a bit of an understanding of what to expect, but we’re really excited at the chance of playing here against a good Pakistan side,” he added.

Henry remarked there is really good buzz around the New Zealand squad. “I think there are a lot of guys who haven’t played that much in the subcontinent. So from my point of view they’ll get the chance to sample what it is like playing in different and learn the experience.

“We’ve got a lot of new guys in our young side with a fair experience of playing in Bangladesh, which I think is going to be brilliant. We’ve still got a lot of players that have played a lot of cricket and different conditions in the UAE, as well as playing over and the other subcontinent conditions.

Henry pointed that he has been lucky enough to play Pakistan a number of times. “I think the Pakistan fans, as well as the players, have always been great. We’re obviously going to have some crowds here as well, which I think everyone’s excited at.”

He also lauded Pakistan skipper Babar Azam saying the prolific batter is a very good player. “If you look at both teams in general, it’s going to be a good contest but Babar is a class act. I think if you look at Pakistan over the last few years, there’s been a good crop of fast bowlers coming.”

Speaking about trying out the Pakistani cuisines, Henry said: “I’ll be looking forward to getting some recommendations and try some of the local food. I’m sure they’re going to be nice.”

All three ODIs will be played at the Pindi Cricket Stadium in Rawalpindi with the first match on Friday with the remaining games on Sept 19 and 21, while the T20 fixtures will be staged at Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium from Sept 25 to Oct 3.

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