|Event:||New Zealand in United Arab Emirates 2009/10|
DateLine: 3rd November 2009
Pakistan captain Younus Khan is looking forward to an improved fielding performance from his team in the three-match one-day series against New Zealand starting here from Tuesday.
Fielding let Pakistan down when the two teams met in last month's semi-final of the Champions Trophy in South Africa, where Younus himself dropped a sitter off Grant Elliott which cost his team dearly.
"We need to field very well, and this is one area where we need improvement as New Zealand have a clear edge on us in this department," said Younus during the unveiling of the series on Monday.
Historically, Pakistan is one of the lower ranked teams when it comes to fielding, and Younus was quick to point out the grey area.
"We suffer a lot because of fielding but boys have shown inclination to improve fielding and I am sure this series will not only see them bat well, bowl well, but also field well," said Younus.
"They (New Zealand) are a very dangerous side and we have to be at our best in all three departments to beat them. They have quality players so it would be 50-50 when we start the series."
Pakistan was forced to relocate the series out of their country after New Zealand refused to tour them following terrorist attacks on the Sri Lankan team in March this year.
The attacks, which killed eight people and left seven Sri Lankan players and their assistant coach injured, ended all hopes of Pakistan staging any international cricket in the foreseeable future.
The remaining two one-day matches will be played here on November 6 and 9 before the two teams move to Dubai to play two Twenty20 internationals on November 12 and 13.
After this limited over series, the two teams will play three Tests in New Zealand, also scheduled to be played in Pakistan but moved over security fears.
New Zealand, already depleted by the injuries to opener Jesse Ryder, all-rounder Elliott and pace spearhead Daryl Tuffey -- all missing from the tour, face a wait on paceman Kyle Mills, nursing a shoulder injury.
"Mills is doubtful with a sore shoulder, but we have Tim Southee who can fill in if Mills doesn't play," said Daniel Vettori, who will also be acting coach after Andy Moles resigned following differences with players last month.
Vettori said his team is keen to carry on the momentum built in the Champions Trophy where they finished runners-up to Australia.
"It was good to reach here a week before the start of the series and we are determined to build on the good work achieved in the Champions Trophy," said Vettori, whose team is on a five match (one-day) winning sequence against Pakistan.
Vettori confirmed Brendon McCullum will open the innings despite his recent failures and suggestions that he should bat down the order.
"If the pitch here in Abu Dhabi is the same as we had in Dubai, then it will produce a lot of runs and we will go with Brendon opening the innings, and hope to put good total on the board."
(Article: Copyright © 2009 AFP)
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