“We will pose a tougher challenge to New Zealand than Sri Lanka did because we have more variety and experience in out pace attack,” says Wahab Riaz © ICC
Pakistan already have a bowler who is quick and hostile, and another who specialises in yorkers and reverse swing, but the return of Mohammad Amir may help round out the pace attack’s threat, Wahab Riaz said. The visitors have brought a pace-heavy squad to New Zealand – Anwar Ali and Aamer Yamin also in the mix, while Umar Gul, Amir and Wahab himself make up the more high-profile seam options.
“Amir is a great introduction to the team,” Wahab said. “He’s getting a chance. He’s a great fast bowler – he’s proved that in the past. It’s time for him to prove here as well, again. And he will prove it. With him there’s less pressure on me as a bowler, because I’m getting his support. Umar Gul is back and is doing really well. It’s going to be a good combination for Pakistan.”
Amir’s return to national team had in part been paved by his outstanding returns in the Bangladesh Premier League late last year. He took 14 wickets at an average of 12.64 and an economy rate of 5.56 in that tournament, where his swing and seam movement appeared largely undiminished by five years of suspension.
“Amir is a good inswing bowler, bowling with the new ball,” Wahab said. “He can bowl outswing as well. If you can take wickets with the new ball the pressure will always be on the batsmen. That’s I’m saying that him coming into the team will help us more.”
On paper, Pakistan’s attack appears stronger than the Sri Lanka bowling unit New Zealand plundered 147 for 2 against on Sunday. New Zealand’s top order has been in excellent form, but Wahab suggested Pakistan’s attack would present them with a sterner challenge.
“It seems like cricket is very easy these days for the New Zealand batsmen,” he said. “They’ve been hitting balls really well. It’s going to be a different challenge because we have much more good bowlers than Sri Lanka. They lacked experience, but we have experience and some quality bowlers as well. It’s not going to be easy for them to score runs against us.
“We cannot sit back and see what they are doing. We will definitely attack, and let’s see. If they can play good cricket – hats off to them.”
Sri Lanka had struggled to contend with the small dimensions of Eden Park, but Pakistan have had recent success at the ground, having defeated South Africa there by 29 runs, during last year’s World Cup. They had also won their most recent bilateral series in the country. Wahab was part of the team that defeated New Zealand 2-1 in T20s and 3-2 in ODIs, in 2010.
“We have some good memories here,” he said. “We won the last series we played here in 2010, and the World Cup games we played here were very successful for us.
“It’s a great preparation for the World T20. Winning here against the Black Caps could be a great confidence booster for the team. They way they are playing right now – if we get the series win here, it will be great for Pakistan cricket. “
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo