Pakistan, New Zealand players are on ‘good relations’, says Williamson; Black Caps skipper terms the recently cancelled series against Pakistan as a ‘real shame’

By our correspondent

DUBAI: New Zealand skipper Kane Williamsnon has said that his country’s last-minute withdrawal from Pakistan’s tour recently was a real ‘shame’, adding the players on both sides remain in good relations with each other.

He was speaking at a news conference here in Dubai on Monday.

“It was a really disappointing situation,” Williamson sad. “I know the team that were there were very much looking forward to the occasion and playing cricket over in Pakistan, and it was a real shame that it wasn’t able to go ahead,” he said.

“I suppose the focus now is here at the T20 World Cup, and no doubt after last night performance Pakistan have some momentum and are feeling pretty good about their cricket. But there are also a lot of good relations within the two teams. Over the years they’ve played a lot against each other, and a number of players have played with each other, as well. I’m sure it’ll be played in the right spirit, but no doubt Pakistan will be well supported, as they always are here in the UAE,” he said.

“It was a fantastic performance,” he said. “I think Pakistan have come to the T20 World Cup full of confidence, having played in these conditions more than most. They certainly put it on show last night and showed why they’re one of the favourites in the competition,” Kane said.

“Tomorrow I’m sure they’ll be very strong again, so for us, it’s focusing on the cricket that we want to play and trying to adjust to conditions. I think we’ll see throughout this tournament at the three different venues that each venue will probably play a little bit differently, so that will be an important factor for us.”

“They’ve got a very well-balanced side, and also a great mix between youth and experience with Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik in the middle order, as well. Mohammad] Rizwan and Babar Azam at the top of the order have been formidable in terms of their partnership and the quality that they bring. They are a very well-balanced side and also a side that’s very accustomed to playing conditions and playing cricket here in the UAE.”

“Yeah, it was certainly a bit of a challenge in terms of any rhythm and fluency with the bat, and with the ball there was a lot of plans that went in place to try and combat that,” he said. “Often you go to Sharjah and historically the surface has been very good and it’s been very high-scoring. We’re sort of seeing two ends of the spectrum there, and I think it’s important to go there with an open mind.”

“We saw a good game of cricket there yesterday and there were some high scores, as well. But yeah, the most recent experiences there is it’s sort of been somewhat of a challenge and quite a scrappy sort of surface, so we’ll have to wait and see. I think we saw that at the back end of the IPL, where dew did become a factor, so no doubt it will be a factor throughout this tournament. As a side it’s trying to rely on the experience that is there and share that to sort of take on those added challenges with conditions.”

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