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After six weeks in Australia, where they were involved in the Benson and Hedges World Series Cup, the Pakistanis crossed the Tasman Sea for a two-month tour of New Zealand which was to include three Test matches and four one-day internationals. As it happened, the First Test was abandoned, owing to heavy rain in Dunedin, and an extra one-day international was played there on what would have been the fourth day.
The Pakistanis' visit to New Zealand was their fifth, and it proved to be a bitter and acrimonious one. It seemed that the tourists, sensitive to the claims that umpiring in Pakistan was questionable, set out to show that New Zealand umpires also were incompetent. That was the word used by the captain, Imran Khan. The manager, the former Test player and captain, Intikhab Alam, accused the New Zealand officials of cheating, and that was beyond the pale. In the Third Test, at Auckland, there were perhaps five dubious decisions, at least two of them against the New Zealanders. But the Pakistan way of approaching the umpires almost en masse, and the filthy language that was used, caused great concern among the umpires and the New Zealand public.
An exception should be made of Imran, who led a highly excitable team. As he had been doing for several years, he pleaded the case for neutral umpires. But the question still remained: what Australian or English umpire, standing in a match in Pakistan - or elsewhere - would not be charged with gross mismanagement of his affairs were New Zealand, say, playing? Better, perhaps, to have what presently prevails; umpires accused of partiality on practically every tour.
Even before the tour began there had been controversy about the composition of the team. Imran, who took over the captaincy when the appointed captain, Javed Miandad, stood down in his favour, had insisted on changes to the already selected team, with the result that sixteen-year-old Aaqib Javed replaced Wasim Haider, and Abdul Qadir, originally not available for selection, came in at the expense of Mushtaq Ahmed, a young leg-spinner. Imran also wanted Shoaib Mohammad in the party, and although this request was initially refused, Shoaib soon went to Australia to strengthen the team when Saleem Jaffer, in the original selection, was delayed in leaving Pakistan because of fitness problems. Jaffer did eventually join the team in January - and Mohsin Kamal, another of those initially selected, returned to Pakistan.
Before the team arrived in New Zealand they sounded a sour note by refusing to play against England in New Zealand in a one-day series arranged by the New Zealand Board as part of a replacement tour for England's cancelled visit to India. At issue was the presence in the England team of players with South African connections, yet the Pakistanis had already played against Terry Alderman, a rebel South African tourist, in Australia. Looming over the negotiations, of course, was the question of whether the Commonwealth Games in Auckland in 1990 would be affected. The New Zealand government did not want that.
As for the cricket itself, the Test series was inconclusive, although both the drawn matches were in Pakistan's favour. After a magnificent summer, Dunedin had rain and the First Test was abandoned after three days. Had there been play on the third day, a result would have been likely, with Richard Hadlee the key figure. He would probably have passed 400 Test wickets, for the pitch - on which a one-day match was played on the scheduled fourth day - was violently eccentric in its bounce. At Wellington, the Basin Reserve had been loaded with runs during the Shell Trophy series and a draw there was almost inevitable. But at Eden Park, grave fears were held for the state of the pitch. Unseasonable wet weather in Auckland had required the covers to be on for weeks preceding the match, and it was even questioned whether the match should not be transferred elsewhere. The pitch was without a blade of grass, which was expected to suit the Pakistan spinners, and yet despite the prognosis it held together for a remarkable five days. Pakistan scored an apparently match-winning 616 for five declared, and although New Zealand were forced to follow on, they had no difficulty in extending to ten years their record of going without a series defeat at home. Five of those nine series had been won.
In his two Test innings, Javed Miandad, with 118 and 271, took his Test average against New Zealand to a spectacular 92.50, while Shoaib justified Imran's confidence in him by scoring his second and third Test hundreds. Imran showed fine form with the bat and was the most dangerous of the bowlers, although the left-arm, fast-medium Jaffer, with quick wickets in Wellington, had the best aggregate. Aaqib Javed looked like developing into a very useful fast bowler, but Wasim Akram, who had come to prominence against New Zealand four years earlier, broke down in the opening match in New Plymouth and was found to have a hairline crack in a pelvic bone. He returned home, as did Saeed Anwar, and Rizwan-uz-Zaman and Sikander Bakht flew in as replacements.
Martin Crowe, Andrew and Ian Smith distinguished themselves among the home batsmen, and Robert Vance, son of a former New Zealand Board of Control chairman, advanced his claims to a regular place as an opener. Hadlee was without luck in the pursuit of his 400th Test wicket, suffering a recurrence of the Achilles' tendon strain which troubled him in India, and so ended the series and the season six short of his target. He did not play in the one-day international series, while Pakistan were without Miandad, who incurred a back injury while exercising before the first of the matches.
New Zealand, who had earlier won the unscheduled one-day international in Dunedin, ran out convincing winners of the official series by three matches to one. Jones continued his remarkable run with scores of 62 not out, 67, 82 and 63 not out, giving him an average of more than 50 in 28 one-day matches for New Zealand. Another vital factor in New Zealand's success was the ability of 23-year-old Danny Morrison to take early wickets with his fast bowling. His final tally, ten, was twice as many as any other bowler's from either side. Pakistan did not fare well in the one-day series in Australia, either, and their failure to qualify for the finals of the World Series Cup allowed them to arrange an extra fixture in New Zealand - a three-day match, but not first-class, against a New Zealand Second XI Selection at New Plymouth. Of their fourteen matches in Australia, only one, against New South Wales in mid-December, had been first-class.
Match reports for
Tour Match: Auckland v Pakistanis at Auckland, Jan 22, 1989
Tour Match: New Zealand Cricket Council President's XI v Pakistanis at Hamilton, Jan 25-27, 1989
Tour Match: Canterbury v Pakistanis at Christchurch, Jan 29-31, 1989
Tour Match: Shell XI v Pakistanis at Napier, Feb 19-21, 1989