18 Apr 2024

Black Caps youngsters urged to step up against Pakistan

12:56 pm on 18 April 2024
New Zealand's Mark Chapman celebrates after scoring a century during the fifth and final Twenty20 international cricket match between Pakistan and New Zealand at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, 2023.

Mark Chapman celebrates a century against Pakistan last year. Photo: AFP

The Black Caps' T20 tour of Pakistan gives young players outside the regular team a big chance to shine in the international arena, batter Mark Chapman says.

The New Zealand side is essentially a B team, with nine regulars, including captain Kane Williamson, missing through IPL duties, and others being rested or injured.

The side will be captained by Michael Bracewell and plays the first of five matches on Friday morning (NZ time) at Rawalpindi in the Black Caps' last series before the T20 World Cup in the US and Caribbean starts in June.

Not many of the players are likely to be considered for the World Cup, but Chapman said the Pakistan tour represented a chance for the youngsters to shine.

"Obviously we are missing a couple of players, but we have a really exciting team here, a lot of talent, and I think it will be a really good opportunity for them to put their hands up and hopefully similar to last year it can be a really exciting series,'' he told a media conference after their arrival in Pakistan.

"I think it is an amazing opportunity to show the depth that we are building in New Zealand. Obviously the team has generally been pretty settled, but behind the scenes there is a lot of talent, young guys like Ben Sears and Will O'Rourke who have played this year in test cricket and really impressed. Also Tim Robinson who was outstanding in the Super Smash."

Sears, O'Rourke and Robinson are in the squad for the Pakistan series, while another fresh talent is Canterbury Kings all-rounder Zac Foulkes, who also had an impressive Super Smash series.

Foulkes and Tom Blundell were late call-ups to the squad after injuries to Finn Allen and Adam Milne, but the 21-year-old said he was initially reluctant to take the surprise call from Black Caps coach Gary Stead.

Canterbury all-rounder Zak Foulkes.

Canterbury Kings rising star Zac Foulkes Photo: © Photosport Ltd 2024 www.photosport.nz

"I got the call from Steady, obviously it was an unknown number. I had a scam call the day before and I was a bit uncertain to pick it up but thankfully I did. Steady broke the good news to me and I was very surprised. I didn't know what to say to him to be fair. It's all been pretty quick up until now."

Foulkes said his winter plan of playing club cricket in the UK had been put on hold as he seeks to make his mark in Pakistan.

"I'm looking to keep developing. Being able to contribute with both bat and ball is something I really like."

Skipper Bracewell said on Thursday the Black Caps would need to adapt to the conditions quickly, but said they would be ready.

Asked about their prospects without the likes of Williamson, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Daryl Mitchell and Rachin Ravindra, Bracewell acknowledged the ''huge challenge'' against a full-strength Pakistan side.

"They are a great Twenty-20 side and they showed that in the World Cup last time. There were a few guys missing when New Zealand played Pakistan in the series last year and I think that series showed we can compete against these guys. Two-all was a pretty fair result in the end."

Bracewell agreed the Rawalpindi pitch looked a great batting wicket. "It looks beautiful out there. Putting my batting hat on, I am excited to get out there. As an all-rounder I guess I have to find a way with the ball as well."

Chapman, who was named player of the drawn series when the two teams clashed in Pakistan last year, said there was a sense of anticipation ahead of the five matches.

"I think the guys are really excited, because they know it is a full-strength Pakistan team and they are one of the hardest to beat in their home conditions."

Black Caps T20 squad for Pakistan.

Tom Blundell

Michael Bracewell (c)

Mark Chapman

Josh Clarkson

Jacob Duffy

Zak Foulkes

Dean Foxcroft

Ben Lister

Cole McConchie

Jimmy Neesham

Will O'Rourke

Tim Robinson

Ben Sears

Tim Seifert (WK)

Ish Sodhi

Schedule (NZ time).

Friday, 19 April, 2:30am, 1st T20, Rawalpindi

Sunday 21 April, 2:30am, 2nd T20, Rawalpindi

Monday 22 April, 2:30am, 3rd T20, Rawalpindi

Friday 26 April, 2:30am, 4th T20, Lahore

Sunday 28 April, 2:30am, 5th T20, Lahore