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NZ v PAK 2020: New Zealand in no rush to return to Lord’s, focuses on Pakistan Tests

New Zealand have moved to No.1 in the ICC Test Rankings.
New Zealand have moved to No.1 in the ICC Test Rankings.
Modified 15 Dec 2020

New Zealand whitewashed West Indies 2-0 and climbed to the No.1 spot in the ICC Test Rankings. They're being spoken of as a potential finalist for the ICC World Test Championship (WTC).

However, New Zealand’s stand-in captain Tom Latham doesn’t want to look far ahead. After the clean sweep against the West Indies, the hosts have set their sights on Pakistan. Latham, who stood in for Kane Williamson at the Basin Reserve, said:

“When you look too far ahead you can sometimes get caught out. Our focus will shift to Pakistan and whatever happens post that we’ll assess."
“The goal at the start of the Test Championship was to get to that final, and if we play well we give ourselves a chance, and it may be a possibility.”

After the third day's play at Basin Reserve, Trent Boult, when asked about New Zealand's chances to make the WTC finale at Lord's, said, "I’m not in a huge rush to go back to Lord’s. But obviously, it’ll be a special occasion.”

Boult was at the centre of the action during the dramatic World Cup Final in 2019 that ended in heartbreak for New Zealand. Now at the third spot in the WTC, New Zealand are strong candidates to play the final at Lord’s next year. But the Kiwis are looking at one series at a time.

New Zealand Gear Up for Pakistan

New Zealand will now head to Auckland on Tuesday to prepare for the T20Is against Pakistan before heading to Mt. Maunganui for the Boxing Day Test. The hosts have not lost a Test at home since March 2017. And they've now affected two consecutive 2-0 clean sweeps, starting with India earlier this year. Another 120 points against Pakistan will make New Zealand firm favourites for a WTC finale berth. 

“We have been playing some good cricket of late. In our conditions we certainly know how to play,” Latham added.

New Zealand are currently placed below Australia and India in the ICC WTC points table. The India-Australia Test series will start on Thursday and will hold extreme importance to the table standings.

Published 15 Dec 2020, 11:18 IST
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