Dubai: New Zealand will tour the UAE under the guidance of new coach Gary Stead, who succeeded Mike Hesson. The series against Pakistan in the UAE will be the first tour for Stead as coach of the New Zealand team.
Stead will be in charge of New Zealand in the 2019 World Cup and has been given a two-year term. He had coached the New Zealand’s women’s team to final of the 2009 World Cup and 2010 World T20. In the light of Pakistan’s huge win over Australia in the just concluded Test series, New Zealand will be preparing very hard through intense training for the series at the ICC Cricket Academy on arrival.
Stead was an opening batsman and has played in five Tests for New Zealand but has hit two half century and his highest score of 78 was made against India at Ahmedabad during the 1999 series. In that Test, Sachin Tendulkar had captained the team and scored 217 with Sourav Ganguly getting 125 runs, but the match ended in a draw. It was Stead who largely ensured the draw by batting for 221 minutes.
Stead will be faced with the challenge of shaping the New Zealand team to adapt to the UAE conditions.
The pullout of star batsman Martin Guptill from the ODI and T20 series, owing to a left calf strain, which will keep him out of action for over a month is a big blow to the team. Guptill is one who has performed well in subcontinent conditions.
New Zealand is hoping that their left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel, who was their last year’s winner of the domestic Player of the Year award, will perform strongly in UAE conditions. New Zealand will play Pakistan in T20Is, three ODIs and three Tests starting from October 31.
The teams in all the three formats are being led by Kane Williamson. Two players, who will perform at their best for the New Zealand A team against Pakistan A in the ongoing series T20 unofficial matches, will be included in the New Zealand T20 team.