Ahead of an important 2-Test series against Pakistan at home, New Zealand coach Mike Hesson has opened up on the after-effects of their recently completed tour to India. Faced with turning tracks and in-form spinners, the Kiwis were handed a 0-3 whitewash which according to him had damaged their confidence.
The 42-year old believed that a return to familiar conditions would go a long way in helping them overturn their dip in form. However, he remained wary of a Pakistani bowling attack filled with wicket-taking options.
Pointing to New Zealand’s impressive recent home record, Hesson felt, “I think we have won seven out of our 11 Tests at home in the last three years with a couple of draws and a couple of losses. You do that because conditions are familiar to you and you adapt quicker than other sides. We've been stressing the fact that we need to prepare for conditions that we're more familiar with. We've got some experience to draw on over the last three or four years.”
He explained, “It's a matter of going through that rather than reliving India. Conditions over there were significantly different to what we're going to face over here. There was a period of having to deal with dented confidence but that was some time ago.
“At the time, we needed to dwell on some of the areas we hadn't performed well in and we have done that. Then we need to move on, that's the nature of international cricket. When you perform and you win easily, you don't dwell on that either. You move on.”
Upon losing all three tosses in the Test series, New Zealand were outplayed in all departments of the game by Virat Kohli’s Indian team who would eventually go on to reach the top of the rankings too. Despite getting themselves into reasonable positions at various stages, they found it difficult to cope with the spin-friendly pitches and slumped to three comprehensive defeats.
None of their batsmen could manage to reach three figures even once in the series while the bowlers were also not particularly impressive either. With a green-top expected in the first Test at Christchurch, Pakistan will be eager to prolong the wretched patch of senior players such as Ross Taylor who averaged a paltry 14.83 in the India series.
A wary Hesson admitted, “We will be challenged by this Pakistan attack, there's no doubt about that. They've got an attack that suits all conditions around the world. They swing the new ball, they reverse it, and they've got a very good spinner. They've also got experience in their batting line up. They are tough in every conditions, so their bowling attack is going to pose some challenges for us.”
The series opener will be played at the Hagley Oval from Thursday onwards before the action shifts to Seddon Park in Hamilton for the final match.