Azhar Mahmood backs Pak bowlers to deliver in New Zealand

Karachi: Pakistan bowling coach Azhar Mahmood has backed his side’s bowlers to adjust quickly to the windy conditions in New Zealand and deliver for the national side in the upcoming limited-overs series, beginning January 6 at the Basin Reserve in Wellington.

Talking about his team’s preparation, the 42-year-old said that Pakistan were in good shape and were absolutely ready to give New Zealand a run for their money on their home turf.

“We have been training a lot and the players are in good shape and fit. They know they have to go to New Zealand and perform well for which they have prepared well,” the Express Tribune quoted Mahmood, as saying.

Though Mahmood admitted that Pakistani batting has repeatedly struggled in New Zealand, he believed that the onus would be on the bowlers to get accustomed to the conditions this time around.

“Pakistan batting has always struggled when they go out of subcontinent and the pitches of New Zealand are not easy, neither their weather conditions..The venues where we will be playing have a lot of wind which will make it difficult for the bowlers, but it will be interesting to see how our bowlers adjust to the conditions there,” he insisted.

Mahmood, however, remains confident about his side’s bowling attack, saying that bowling has always been their strength and that it has been the country’s driving force in most of the recent victories.

“We have a good combination of pacers and spinners. Bowling has always been our strength and it will be our strength in New Zealand too,” he said.

The bowling coach also emphasised that his side might have won the Champions Trophy, but they would not take New Zealand lightly in the upcoming series.

“Although we have won the Champions Trophy, we cannot take New Zealand lightly. They have a number of match-winners, so we have to be on our toes till the end of every match,” he said.

Expressing confidence on the team’s bench strength, the all-rounder said that Pakistan would try to avoid complacency against the Black Caps.

“We will have to maintain the winning momentum and to do that, we have to let go of complacency. Our bench gives us strength since we have a suitable replacement for all players,” he said.

The five-match ODI series between Pakistan and New Zealand will be played between January 6 and 19 in Wellington before the two sides head into a two-match T20I series on January 25 at Eden Gardens, Auckland.