The Pakistan coach Intikhab Alam thinks too much one-day and Twenty20 cricket is detracting from his young batsmen's Test performances. Since late January, Pakistan have played 22 ODIs and 13 Twenty20 internationals, including the ICC World Twenty20, which they won. In the same period they played just five Tests before the series opener against New Zealand in Dunedin last week, which they lost by 32 runs.
"It's a mental game really for the openers. They've got to stay at the wicket," said Intikhab, who feels the batsmen were not used to digging in for the long haul. "The obvious reason is that we play too much one-day cricket and Twenty20 cricket. We're not playing Test cricket regularly so you need to apply yourself according to the playing conditions and stay at the wicket and try to build your innings.
"We have a good pace attack that we can bowl New Zealand out twice, but I'm concerned about our batting, especially the middle order and opening batsmen. "They are youngsters and it will take time, but we have to get things together." The teams begin the second Test in Wellington on Thursday and the New Zealand all-rounder Grant Elliott is keen to contribute more with the ball. A knee injury reduced his bowling workload to just two overs in Dunedin. "It definitely hurts me not to be able to do that [bowl] because you saw how hard the bowlers toiled," said Elliott.
"It's tendonitis. I've just been battling with that a bit. I had it in Wellington, but hopefully I can take a load off the bowlers." Meanwhile, the West Indies have been hit by the news that key bowler Jerome Taylor will miss the remainder of their tour of Australia. The 25-year-old paceman injured his left hip and back after bowling just nine overs in the first Test in Brisbane, which the Windies lost by an innings and 65 runs.
The Australians will be without Ben Hilfenhaus for the second Test, which begins on Thursday in Adelaide. The paceman, who marked his debut Test on Australian soil with five for 70 against the Windies, has a knee injury. * With agencies