Wellington - Black Caps coach Mike Hesson is hoping a return home to New
Zealand will see his team turn around their recent run of poor results.
New Zealand have lost their last four Tests but those were
all played away, one at Centurion against South Africa before they were
whitewashed in India.
The Black Caps have a far better record in Test cricket at
home than away though and the Hagley Oval pitch is a far cry from what they
experienced in India and should pose an interesting challenge for visitor's
Hesson told a press conference ahead of the first Test:
"I think we've won seven out of our 11 Tests at home in the last three
years, with a couple of draws and a couple of losses.
"You do that because conditions are familiar to you,
and you adapt quicker than other sides.
"We've been stressing the fact that we need to prepare
for conditions that we're more familiar with. We've got some experience to draw
on over the last three or four years. It's a matter of going through that
rather than reliving India. Conditions over there were significantly different
to what we're going to face over here."
Hesson will need his batsmen to come to the party in this
series after a disappointing run in India saw not a single Black Caps player
get into triple figures.
The coach is confident of a turnaround in performance
though: "The conditions are here very different, so the skillset required
"We acknowledge that we didn't adapt as well as we
needed to in India. Hence, we underachieved, especially with the bat. Here, I'm
very confident the guys know the conditions.
"There was a period of having to deal with dented
confidence, but that was some time ago. At the time we needed to dwell on some
of the areas we hadn't performed well in, and we've done that. Then we need to
move on - that's the nature of international cricket. When you perform and you
win easily, you don't dwell on that either. You move on."
The batting unit will have to contend with a formidable
Pakistan attack that did well in pace friendly conditions in England earlier this
Hesson added: "We'll be challenged by this Pakistan
attack, there's no doubt about that.
"They've got an attack that suits all conditions around
the world. They swing the new ball, they reverse it, and they've got a very
good spinner. They've also got experience in their batting line up. They're
tough in every condition, so they're bowling attack is going to pose some
challenges for us."
The coach feels that despite a generous covering of grass in
Canterbury, the pitch should be quite good for batting and it will take a
strong effort from fielding teams to take 20 wickets in the match.
He concluded: "The pitch has good pace and bounce,
which stays throughout.
"And I think it turns into a pretty flat surface. It's
one of those surfaces where you are going to need to have resources to bowl a
lot of overs, rather than think you're going to bowl them out in a session and
a half. I don't think it's going to be like that."