With the first Test between Zimbabwe and New Zealand set to begin at Bulawayo on Thursday, Black Caps opener Tom Latham believes patience will be the most vital factor in the two-Test series against the African minnows. The 24-year-old, who has played 18 Tests till date, expects the pitches in Zimbabwe to offer uneven bounce at times and cautioned his side to curtail their aggressive approach that was typical of the side under Brendon McCullum’s captaincy.
"The conditions are low and slow compared to what we have back home and we need to adjust to it. It is about being patient and playing the long game," Latham said. "It is more about the patience side of things, you are not going to go and blast quick runs over here.
“So, it's about the patience game, and wear the bowlers down, and bat for a day or four sessions, and that is probably the biggest thing for the whole batting group."
Much like their Trans-Tasman rivals Australia, who arrived in Sri Lanka nearly two weeks before the first Test against Angelo Mathews’ side in an attempt to get familiar with the conditions, New Zealand also started their preparation pretty early, undergoing a training camp organised by former New Zealand player Kruger van Wyk at the University of Pretoria's High Performance Centre, the home to Cricket South Africa's National Academy.
"It was a good three days for the whole group," Latham said. "Everyone spent a little bit time at the crease and got enough overs under their belt to put them in good stead for the Test match coming up. That's the beauty of coming over nice and early.
“We have not played a Test for a while and it is about getting used to the long form and being patient with all facets of the game. Certainly a beneficial couple of weeks for us, and I know the boys are looking forward to the first Test."
Though New Zealand are expected to coast through in what will be Kane Williamson’s first Test series assignment as full-time skipper, Latham warned against taking the Zimbabwean side lightly, especially in their home conditions.
"Zimbabwe are certainly very good in their home conditions and they showed it last year in the one-day series we had over here last year," he said. "He [Kane Williamson] is a very switched-on guy and certainly leads from the front with his batting. He has had enough experience throughout his career and I'm sure he is going to do a fantastic job."Published 26 Jul 2016, 22:25 IST