T20 series preview: Pakistan v New Zealand
Dubai will host two T20 matches between Pakistan and New Zealand this week, with the sides dedicating the series to Phillip Hughes after they were forced to play through an emotional final Test last week.
The Test series was drawn one all, with the New Zealanders winning the third match inside four days by more than an innings. The game was suspended on day two following Hughes' death, and it was clear the players were not playing for themselves.
Now the focus shifts back to Dubai, where Shahid Afridi will lead Pakistan and Kane Williamson will take over the Black Caps' captaincy. Brendon McCullum has returned home, in order to prepare for upcoming Tests.
This will be an interesting challenge for Williamson, as he will lead in the ODIs too, going up against Afridi, who has plenty of captaincy experience. Both sides are significantly changed from the Test teams.
Pakistan have Ahmed Shehzad back after he was hit in the face by a Corey Anderson bouncer early in the Test series, resulting in a fractured cheekbone, while Mohammad Irfan and Umar Gul return to the bowling attack.
The Kiwis have lost McCullum, Tim Southee and Trent Boult, but Nathan McCullum comes in, as do Mitchell McClenaghan, Matt Henry and Martin Guptill. Daniel Vettori has also been asked to stay, after his successful Test return.
It's tough to predict who will win this, given both sides have lost their best players from the Test series. Pakistan have bolstered their pace attack, with Zulfiqur Babar and Yasir Shah, the most effective against the Kiwis, not there.
One imagines it'll come down to whoever can handle the slightly quicker Dubai track the best with the bat, as recent scores have proven it to be a paradise. The bowlers are in for a tough time, we reckon.
For the hosts, they have plenty of batting to choose from, but will look to Mohammad Hafeez for big runs as well as wickets. He scored a near double ton in Sharjah, so is in great nick, and has not been banned from bowling despite being reported and tested.
The Kiwis will look to Corey Anderson. The all-rounder is one of the more devastating batsmen when he gets going, and his medium-fast bowling has a 'golden arm' quality about it.
Last Five Head-To-Head Results
2012, World Twenty20: Pakistan won by 13 runs in Pallekele
2010, Third T20: Pakistan won by 103 runs in Christchurch
2010, Second T20: New Zealand won by 39 runs in Hamilton
2010, First T20: New Zealand won by five wickets in Auckland
2010, World Twenty20: New Zealand won by 1 run in Bridgetown
Pakistan: Ahmed Shehzad, Anwar Ali, Mohammad Hafeez, Haris Sohail, Mohammad Irfan, Awais Zia, Raza Hasan, Saad Nasim, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Shahid Afridi (capt), Sohail Tanvir, Umar Akmal, Umar Gul, Wahab Riaz
New Zealand: Kane Williamson (capt), Corey Anderson, Dean Brownlie, Anton Devcich, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Mitchell McClenaghan, Nathan McCullum, Kyle Mills, Adam Milne, James Neesham, Luke Ronchi, Ross Taylor, Daniel Vettori
First T20: 4 December in Dubai
Second T20: 5 December in Dubai
Joe Root wants England to free themselves from fear in fourth Test against India
The tourists will be hoping to level the series at 2-2 when they start the final match in Ahmedabad.
Zak Crawley vows England will be more proactive in battle against India’s spin
Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel have run riot in helpful conditions.
Dale Steyn heaps praise on Pakistan trio, prefers PSL over IPL
Record South African fast bowler Dale Steyn is full of praise for Pakistan players Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf and Babar Azam.
Chris Gayle sets sights on third T20 World Cup title
West Indies veteran Chris Gayle has set his sights on winning a third T20 World Cup when he makes his return to international cricket.
Cricket in line to receive significant chunk of £300m sports recovery package
The England and Wales Cricket Board welcomed the support, describing it as “a lifeline for parts of the game”.
Marcus Trescothick relishing return to ‘special environment’ with England
Trescothick is England’s new batting coach.
Jack Leach feels here to stay after establishing himself as top England spinner
Leach made his debut almost three years ago in New Zealand but had made only 10 appearances before the turn of the year.
Kevin O’Brien says century against England helped Ireland ‘reach for the stars’
O’Brien hit a 50-ball 113 as Ireland chased down a target of 328 in the 2011 World Cup.
Ian Harvey is Gloucestershire interim coach after Richard Dawson joins England
Dawson has accepted the position of ECB elite pathway coach