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Pakistan to exploit lack of NZ confidence

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 16/11/2016 Daniel Gilhooly

New Zealand's Test struggles will have rocked their confidence says Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq, who reckons he has just the man to exploit it.

Misbah, the oldest current Test player at 42, entered into mind games with the Black Caps on the eve of the first Test at Hagley Oval.

He suspects doubt will have entered the psyche of the hosts following their 3-0 hammering in India last month.

Pakistan will take a merciless attitude into the two-Test series, intent on keeping their foot on the hosts' throat if they eke an early advantage.

"After the Indian tour, most of the Kiwi batsmen were struggling and short of confidence," Misbah said.

"I know this is their own territory and they'll be confident just playing here but, as a batsman, I know sometimes confidence can play a bigger role. Obviously we're looking forward to exploiting that."

Both pace attacks could thrive in helpful conditions but Misbah believes the ace in his pack is legspinner Yasir Shah, who last month became the second-quickest player in Test history to reach 100 wickets.

His 17-Test achievement included 15 wickets in the drawn three-Test series against New Zealand in the United Arab Emirates two years ago.

With the Black Caps having succumbed to spin in India, Misbah believes 30-year-old Yasir is poised to have an influential role.

"He could be a big factor, even if the conditions are good for seamers," he said.

"It's all about building pressure in the right areas, playing with the mind of the batsman."

Misbah, who will lead his country for a 50th time in Tests, was unconcerned Pakistan's only scheduled warm-up game was washed out in Nelson last week without a ball having been bowled.

With practice opportunities also limited because of wet weather, he and his players are referring to this year's tour of England in preparing for the expected seam-friendly conditions.

They won both Tests in London to draw the series 2-2.

"As professionals, we need to use that information," Misbah said.

"That experience is really going to help us because of confidence we gained from it."

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