Wellington: New Zealand will attempt to win back the confidence of disgruntled fans in the second of two Tests against Pakistan which starts at the Basin Reserve on Saturday.
Pakistan pummelled New Zealand by 10 wickets in the first Test at Hamilton, bowling out the home team for 110 in just over three hours in its second innings. The New Zealand team has been harshly criticized in the media and flayed in public forums since that loss which its own captain, Daniel Vettori, called embarrassing.
Meanwhile, Pakistan is focused on achieving a 2-0 win in the two-Test series to usher in what coach Waqar Younis says could be a bright new era for the troubled cricket nation.
"It`s a new year and it`s a new set up. I would definitely like to say the team is a lot hungrier than what I`ve seen in the past," Waqar said.
"It`s a good unit so hopefully this year will bring us good results."
Waqar adds a cautious note, that Pakistan has foreseen bright new eras in the past and circumstances have conspired to frustrate their optimism.
"That`s what we were thinking six months ago and then suddenly something comes up," he said in an oblique reference to the match-fixing scandal currently affecting Pakistan cricket.
Vettori and New Zealand coach John Wright both said the performance in Hamilton was unacceptable. New Zealand made only 275 in its first innings in ideal batting conditions, conceded a 92-run lead on the first innings then collapsed in its second innings, losing all 10 wickets in a session.
Both captain and coach have demanded a better performance and expressed sympathy with fans who - having endured New Zealand`s 11-match losing streak in one-day internationals - have now had to suffer the team`s failure at Test level.
"Wrighty and myself have spoken to the team and there have been a lot of harsh words," Vettori said.
"Wrighty has stated emphatically that things have to change, you can`t keep putting those performances together. He wants to be part of the change and I do too, so it`s got to start at the base."
A succession of New Zealand players have been paraded before the media this week, repeating the same buzzwords: that players have to take "ownership" of their own personal performances and that the team must get back to basics.
Batsman Ross Taylor made scores of 6 and 8 in Hamilton, at the same time being picked up in the Indian Premier League auction for USD 1 million, the highest price for a New Zealander.
Taylor has averaged only 21 in his past seven Tests and is part of a top six which has repeatedly failed to give New Zealand batting solidity.
"The way I`m playing at the moment isn`t good enough but as I said, I don`t feel as though I`m out of nick, I just haven`t been able to score the runs," Taylor said.
Wright said the batsmen had been clearly told that continued failure was not acceptable.
"They all understood it," he said. "It`s just occupying the crease and not giving your wicket away. It`s not rocket science.”
"We have to get our house in order and concentrate on what we do. They`re a dangerous side but we`ve got to look more inwards than outwards."
New Zealand (from): Daniel Vettori (captain), Brendon McCullum, Tim McIntosh, Martin Guptill, Ross Taylor, Jesse Ryder, Kane Williamson, James Franklin, Reece Young, Daniel Vettori, Tim Southee, Daryl Tuffey, Brent Arnel, Chris Martin.
Pakistan (from): Misbah ul-Haq (captain), Mohammad Hafeez, Taufeeq Umar, Younis Khan, Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Adnan Akmal, Abdur Rehman, Umar Gul, Wahab Riaz, Tanvir Ahmed, Khurram Mansor, Sohail Tanvir, Umar Akmal.