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Without Sir Richard Hadlee and Martin Snedden, both of whom had retired following the recent tour of England, and with John Wright, Andrew Jones and John Bracewell all unavailable, it was a much weakened New Zealand team which arrived in Pakistan at the end of September. Consequently it came a little surprise when they lost all three Test matches, the first two by convincing margins, and the three one-day internationals, giving Pakistan their second clean sweep in a three-Test series after that of October 1982, when they comprehensively defeated K. J. Hughes's Australian side. The tourists' three-day games against Karachi and PIA were both drawn.
The tour was not without controversy. Even before it began, Imran Khan declined the Pakistan Board's invitation to play in the series, branding the New Zealanders a B team and appealing to the Board to cancel the tour altogether. Then, just days before it started, Pakistan withdrew their offer of third-country umpires for the Tests, following remarks allegedly made by the New Zealand captain, Martin Crowe. He was reported as saying that any umpire standing in the series will be better than having two Pakistani umpires, a statement he strongly denied having made. But the damage was done.
Finally, the New Zealand manager, Mr Ian Taylor, on the team's return home, accused the Pakistan bowlers of doctoring the ball, by lifting the seam or damaging the surface, in order to obtain extra swing. The New Zealand manager even admitted that Chris Pringle, their medium-pace bowler, had experimented with such tactics during the Third Test at Faisalabad, in which he took seven for 52 in the first innings as Pakistan were bowled out for 102, their lowest total against New Zealand. The claim was strongly denied by the Pakistan players and their Board, while Intikhab Alam, the manager of the Pakistan team, described it as rubbish.
Imran's allegation that New Zealand were sending a second-rate side was in the end justified by the results. The tourists' inexperience was manifested by their inability to handle the fire, pace and swing of Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis, who between them claimed 39 wickets in the Test matches. Younis's share, 29, was a record for a three-match series in Pakistan, and twice he captured ten or more wickets in a match. Not even the absence through injury of his strike partner, Akram, at Faisalabad could make a difference: he continued to frustrate the New Zealanders with his swing and devastating yorkers.
However, it was not just the New Zealand batsmen who had trouble coming to terms with the seaming pitches produced for the Test matches. Despite the weakness of the New Zealand bowling generally, most of the leading Pakistan batsmen had disappointing aggregates. The exception was Shoaib Mohammad, who scored 507 runs at an average of 169 and became the highest run-maker for Pakistan in a series against New Zealand. The previous record had been held by Javed Miandad, who made 504 runs in his début series in 1976-77. Shoaib also had the distinction of scoring five hundreds in five consecutive Tests against the New Zealanders, having begun the sequence in New Zealand in 1988-89. Although Miandad's lack of form surprised many observers, he did have the consolation in his final innings, at Faisalabad, of becoming the fifth batsman to score 8,000 runs in Tests.
For New Zealand, Crowe was the pick of their batting, being the only one to reach three figures in the Tests and finishing with an average of 61. At Faisalabad, Mark Greatbatch completed 1,000 runs in his seventeenth Test, but with the tourists looking to him and to Ken Rutherford for experience and depth in batting, neither really resolved the struggle against the pace and swing of the Pakistan attack. Wicket-keeper Ian Smith again displayed his fighting spirit lower down the order, but Wright, the former captain, was sorely missed at the top: only once in the Tests did New Zealand manage more than 30 for the first wicket.
Test matches- Played 3: Lost 3.
First-class matches- Played 5: Lost 3, Drawn 2.
Losses- Pakistan (3).
Draws- Karachi, PIA.
One-day internationals- Played 3: Lost 3.
Match reports for
1st Test: Pakistan v New Zealand at Karachi, Oct 10-15, 1990
2nd Test: Pakistan v New Zealand at Lahore, Oct 18-23, 1990
3rd Test: Pakistan v New Zealand at Faisalabad, Oct 26-31, 1990
1st ODI: Pakistan v New Zealand at Lahore, Nov 2, 1990
2nd ODI: Pakistan v New Zealand at Peshawar, Nov 4, 1990
3rd ODI: Pakistan v New Zealand at Sialkot, Nov 6, 1990