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Hesson backs NZ batsmen against Pakistan

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 15/11/2016 Daniel Gilhooly

NZ captain Kane Williamson, left, and Tom Latham run between the wickets while playing against India during their second ODI cricket match in India on Oct. 20, 2016. © AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal NZ captain Kane Williamson, left, and Tom Latham run between the wickets while playing against India during their second ODI cricket match in India on Oct. 20, 2016. The lessons in India have been stored away but they're not especially relevant for a tender New Zealand batting line-up preparing to face Pakistan in two Tests.

Rather than reflect on their 3-0 drubbing in India last month, coach Mike Hesson has instructed his batsmen to quickly remember what works on home soil.

A typically firm, green Hagley Oval pitch is being prepared for the first Test starting on Thursday, so rehashing their shortcomings against spin on crumbling surfaces would be a waste of time.

"After India we had to dwell on some of the areas we hadn't performed in. We've done that and moved on," said Hesson, who was critical of his team's application when the tour concluded.

"We've got some good experiences to draw on in home conditions over the last 3-4 years so it's a matter of going through that rather than re-living India."

The Black Caps failed to reach 300 in any of their six innings in India. No batsman passed 80.

Gritty opener Tom Latham underscored his potential with three half-centuries and shapes as a key figure in his home city.

Jeet Raval, 28, will walk out alongside him on Test debut after the selectors ran out of patience with opener Martin Guptill.

Hesson believes the new pairing can defy their lack of experience.

"It's more about the skill that they bring and they both bring a lot of skill," he said.

"Even though Tom is young (24), he's pretty experienced and has played well now in most parts of the world.

"Jeet's got a sound technique. He's grooved it in over a number of years of first class cricket and can bat for a long period of time. We're keen to back that and see how he goes."

Accomplished pair Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor follow but New Zealand will be desperate for the latter to dispense with the uncertainty that shrouded his batting in India with him amassing just 89 runs in six innings.

The unproven Henry Nicholls is recalled after Luke Ronchi claimed his No.5 berth in India while injury-prone allrounder Jimmy Neesham - likely to be selected ahead of the uncapped Colin de Grandhomme - has been a mixed performer with the bat since his century on debut nearly three years ago.

Wicketkeeper BJ Watling is a sound insurance policy further down the order, along with recalled legspinner Todd Astle, who Hesson confirmed will play his second Test.

However, the blowtorch will go on a top order which must combat a Pakistan attack likely to spearheaded by lively left-armers Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz, followed by the prolific legspin of Yasir Shah.

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