The Cricketer runs down the who, what, where, when, why, how much, which channel and how wet will it be for the three-match T20I series
What is it?
A three-match T20I series between New Zealand and Pakistan.
When is it?
The first game of the series takes place on December 18, followed by the second fixture on December 20 and the final match on December 22. All three are due to start at 6am GMT.
Where is it?
The first instalment will be played at Eden Park, Auckland. The series then moves along to Seddon Park, Hamilton, followed by a trip to McLean Park, Napier, for the last part of the T20I series.
For New Zealand, Kane Williamson and Trent Boult are both back involved after being rested for the Blackcaps’ T20I series victory over West Indies.
However, they – along with Tim Southee, Kyle Jamieson and Daryl Mitchell – will only be available for the second and third games due to the conclusion of New Zealand’s Test series against the same opponents.
It means that Mitchell Santner will captain his country in the first T20I, ahead of Williamson’s return.
Batsmen Glenn Phillips and Devon Conway, who both impressed against West Indies, retain their places, though Ross Taylor is a surprising omission. “Unfortunately, we just couldn’t find room in the squad for him due to the quality and form of the other batsman,” explained selector Gavin Larsen.
Seamers Lockie Ferguson and Hamish Bennett are also absent through injury, with Jacob Duffy, Blair Tickner and Doug Bracewell among the beneficiaries. Batsman Mark Chapman has also been called up for the opening game.
Leg-spinners Ish Sodhi and Todd Astle are both included, with Astle primed for his first T20I since September 2019.
Babar Azam has been ruled out through injury
The visitors have endured a chaotic build-up, to say the least. Several players returned positive coronavirus tests, while others mingled in groups when in isolation, provoking admonishment from New Zealand Cricket. PCB chief executive Wasim Khan then spoke to the touring party to remind them that breaching protocol could place the entire tour in jeopardy.
Since then, captain and star batsman Babar Azam has been ruled out of the T20I series with a fractured thumb, while Iman-ul-Haq has suffered the same injury. T20I vice-captain Shadab Khan is carrying a groin problem.
Otherwise, the only additions to the squad from November’s series whitewash over Zimbabwe come in the shape of Hussain Talat and Sarfraz Ahmed. They have replaced Zafar Gohar and Rohail Nazir. Fakhar Zaman missed out on the tour after failing to recover in time from a high fever.
New Zealand squad (1st T20I): Mitchell Santner (c), Todd Astle, Doug Bracewell, Mark Chapman, Devon Conway, Jacob Duffy, Martin Guptill, Scott Kuggeleijn, Jimmy Neesham, Glenn Phillips, Tim Seifert (wk), Ish Sodhi, Blair Tickner
New Zealand squad (2nd and 3rd T20I): Kane Williamson (c), Todd Astle, Trent Boult, Devon Conway, Martin Guptill, Kyle Jamieson, Scott Kuggeleijn, Daryl Mitchell, Jimmy Neesham, Glenn Phillips, Tim Seifert (wk), Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee
Pakistan squad: Shadab Khan, Abdullah Shafique, Faheem Ashraf, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Hussain Talat, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Musa Khan, Mohammad Rizwan, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Usman Qadir, Wahab Riaz.
How can I follow it?
In New Zealand, the series will be live on Spark Sport. In Pakistan, the games are being broadcast on PTV Sports. In the USA, the series is being shown by ESPN+.
This section will be updated in due course, when further information is released.
How’s the weather looking?
Conditions for the first two matches of the series are set fair, with the outlook for the final game less certain.
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