CHRISTCHURCH: Pakistan Test captain Misbahul Haq said being the best in the world is a big motivation as his team prepares to take on New Zealand in a two-Test series starting from today (Thursday) in Christchurch.

Pakistan’s prospect of regaining the top spot in International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Test team rankings will become bright if England are able to beat India in the ongoing five-Test series of which the first match was a draw.

Pakistan, meanwhile, will have to come out victorious against the Kiwis to regain the number one spot and Misbah said the team is prepared to play well against the hosts.

“Always the no. 1 ranking is a big motivation,” said Misbah. “If you play any sport, you want to be the best. That’s what we are looking forward to. That said, we need to improve ourselves every game. Every series and game becomes important for us. [We are] looking forward to playing well in this series and in Australia.”

New Zealand were beaten 0-3 in their last series against India as visitors and they will be trying to gain much-needed confidence by beating Pakistan at home.

However, Misbah thinks Black Caps’ lack of confidence will help Pakistan capitalise.
“If you see, after the Indian tour, most of the Kiwi batsmen have been struggling and short of confidence,” said Misbah. “I know this is their own territory and they’ll be confident playing here, but as a batsman, and a cricketer, confidence can play a big role. Being short of confidence – we’ll look forward to exploiting that.”

Moreover, Misbah also stressed the importance of performing with the bat as he believes his bowling attack can deliver in all conditions.

“If you look at the UAE conditions and New Zealand conditions, these are totally different,” said Misbah. “That’s the biggest challenge for us, especially for our batting. Most of our players have been to New Zealand before, and they know how these conditions can be different from what we are used to.”

He added: “We need to make sure that we bat with discipline and put good scores on the board. Our bowling is very much capable of performing well in any sort of conditions.”

Pakistan’s practice game on the tour of New Zealand was a washout but Misbah thinks, as professionals, they will be ready to read the conditions on the go.

“We missed the practice game here,” said Misbah. “A couple of practice sessions are the only experience we’ve got before the Test match. As professionals, we need to use that information and be ready enough for the Test.”