x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

New Zealand aim to leave recent controversy at home

New Zealand aimed to put the turmoil of the sudden departure of coach Andy Moles behind them as they left yesterday for a series of one-day cricket internationals and Twenty20 matches against Pakistan in the UAE.

New Zealand aimed to put the turmoil of the sudden departure of coach Andy Moles behind them as they left yesterday for a series of one-day cricket internationals and Twenty20 matches against Pakistan in the UAE. The series features three ODIs in Abu Dhabi, starting on November 3, followed by two T20 matches on November 12 and 13 in Dubai. Moles announced his resignation on Saturday after reports the team had lost confidence in the 48-year-old coach because he was not providing the technical and tactical guidance they wanted.

Daniel Vettori, already loaded with responsibilities as New Zealand's captain, leading all-rounder and selector, now has the added burden of acting coach as well. New Zealand Cricket is targeting the home series against Bangladesh in February for a new coach - yet to be named - to start work. Vettori's team is also without a vice-captain, after wicketkeeper and opening batsman Brendon McCullum was relieved of the job last week in the hope he can instead recover his batting form.

The upheaval has obscured the fact New Zealand are on an upswing in one-day cricket after earlier this month reaching the final of the Champions Trophy in South Africa, where they lost to Australia. The Kiwis lie fourth on the International Cricket Council's one-day rankings after their strong Champions Trophy performance, one place ahead of Pakistan. Vettori's team have won their last five one-day games against Pakistan, the last one being their five-wicket victory in the Champions Trophy semi-final at Johannesburg on October 3.

But New Zealand's captain is wary of the enigmatic Asian team. "We'll face a near full-strength side and we know they can be a great team. In a lot of ways we resemble them with our own inconsistencies," Vettori said. Pace bowler Kyle Mills said New Zealand can't wait to get back on the field and leave the controversies behind them. "We're pretty keen to get over there, it's a really important series for us to carry on where we left off in South Africa and start the season for us," he said.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan allrounder Shahid Afridi, who is the captain for the T20 side, will play for South Australia Redbacks in the country's domestic T20 Big Bash tournament, which starts in late December. @Email:sports@thenational.ae