New Zealand will struggle a wee bit: Ian Smith on Black Caps’ tour of Pakistan

After winning the ODI series against India 1-0, New Zealand have been on a break from international cricket. Their next international assignment will be a two-Test tour to Pakistan, starting on December 27.

Former New Zealand wicketkeeper-batter Ian Smith is a little hesitant about the chances of the Black Caps doing well in Pakistan, saying that the Kane Williamson-led side might struggle on playing in the sub-continent pitches, especially with no Trent Boult there due to him signing up with Big Bash League (BBL) after being released from central contracts.

“New Zealand will struggle a wee bit I think. I’m not quite sure if we’ve just peaked a little bit in Test cricket, maybe we have, maybe we haven’t. But it’s going to be a lot harder without Trent Boult in the side… (I’m not sure) how we’re going to get them out. Are we going to be able to spin them out? Not sure,” said Smith on the SENZ Mornings show.

Apart from playing two Tests against Pakistan as part of the World Test Championship (WTC), New Zealand will also play three ODIs in the country as part of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League.

The Tests between New Zealand and Pakistan will be held in Karachi (December 27-31) and Multan (January 4-8). They will return to Karachi for the three ODIs on January 11, 13 and 15. New Zealand will be returning to Pakistan for the first time in two decades after the scheduled 2021 tour was abandoned minutes before its start in Rawalpindi.

Smith believes the tourists will always head into the clashes against Pakistan with underdog status, though England winning Rawalpindi Test by 74 runs gives the Black Caps some hope.

“I think as always when we go to Pakistan, or where we play Pakistan wherever it seems, we’ll be underdogs. I think it’ll be very, very tough for us to win over there.”

New Zealand will be back in Pakistan later in the year to play in five ODIs and as many T20Is. They will be played in Karachi hosting four T20Is (April 13, 15, 16 and 19), followed by the fifth T20I and two ODIs in Lahore (April 23, 26 and 28) and last three ODIs to be played in Rawalpindi (May 1, 4 and 7).

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