Black Caps cautious

HARARE - The New Zealand cricket team which is in the country for the  upcoming two-match Test series against Zimbabwe is firmly grounded despite being overwhelming favourites.

The Black Caps arrived in the country on Wednesday for the two Test matches which starts next week at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo.

New Zealand will play a three-day match against Zimbabwe A starting today at Harare Sports Club before they leave for Bulawayo ahead of the first Test which starts next Thursday.  

And addressing a press conference in the capital yesterday Black Caps coach Mike Hesson says his charges are not underestimating the hosts conceding his charges may have trouble adapting to the pitch conditions.

Hesson further lamented that the fact that they have little knowledge on most of the hosts’ players which makes them a dangerous side.  

“We respect every opposition we play against that’s sort of something we are very proud of regardless we are playing number one team in the world or not,” Hesson said. 

“So we have to prepare equally, some of the Zimbabwean players we don’t know them very well we don’t a lot of footage on them so we gonna have to deal with it when we arrive (in Bulawayo), we certainly not gonna underestimate Zimbabwe in any conditions.

“I think the conditions itself will pose many challenges. Zimbabwe players are obviously familiar with the nature of the surfaces here and I think in Bulawayo it’s going to be relatively slow with a lot of bounce taking 20 wickets will be a challenge.

“On bowling we need to be very disciplined, from a batting point of view Zimbabwe takes committing plans for long period of time.”

The Black Caps has had a week-long training camp at the pristine state of the art High Performance Centre at University of Pretoria in South Africa, something Hesson feels has helped his side acclimatise to the Southern Africa weather.

“We had a week in Pretoria where we trained at the Turks University which gave us a chance to put the team together and also getting used to the conditions we are likely to face here and also when we return to South Africa in a couple of weeks,” he said.

Zimbabwe last played the longer format cricket two years ago away in Bangladesh losing all the Test matches under former coach Steve Mangongo.

Since then the side has never had any other bilateral Test series, prompting their temporary withdrawal from the ICC rankings list owing to an insufficient number of matches.

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