Pakistan will bank on their knowledge of the conditions and consistent run in the longest format of the game in recent times as they gear up for the first of three Tests against New Zealand in Abu Dhabi from Friday (November 16).
The hosts certainly start as favourites going into the encounter with most of their players showing excellent recent form. They have a potent bowling attack with Mohammad Abbas, who broke Australia's back with a ten-wicket haul at the same venue last month, leading the pace department. He recently took a 12-for in a first-class game for his side Sui Northern and will have his tail up coming into the first Test.
Apart from the formidable pace unit, Pakistan also have some excellent spinners in the experienced Yasir Shah, Bilal Asif and the ever-reliable Mohammad Hafeez. Asif gave a good account of himself in his debut series against Australia where he picked up nine wickets in the two Tests including a 6/36 in his first game in Dubai. Pakistan will be hoping for a similar show from him come the New Zealand Tests as well.
Pakistan have had a good run in recent times in Tests. They beat Ireland their maiden Test, then shared a two-match Test series in England 1-1, and more recently won the two-Test series against Australia in the UAE 1-0.
Having said that, New Zealand showed plenty of promise in the recently concluded T20I and ODI series and will hope to bring out their A game against the hosts. They have a good record in the UAE having levelled the only Test series they played here back in 2014 1-1. Seven of the players who were a part of the squad back then are still present this time around and will be eager to giving Pakistan a run for their money.
Live Score, News & WC 2019 Updates