Pakistan, the third team in the Australian one-day World Series Cup, employed the Christmas and New Year break in the tournament for the Australia-West Indies Tests to cross the Tasman for four Internationals with New Zealand. After three one-day matches they took part in the earliest Test ever held in the country, at Hamilton starting on January 2, providing a new dimension to the season. Financially, the tour made what the chairman of New Zealand Cricket, Peter McDermott, called a very minor loss but officials were sufficiently encouraged to plan similar visits when the Test team had no other engagements.
Some of New Zealand's players had been home for less than a fortnight after their traumatic tour of Sri Lanka. Despite speculation that the five who had chosen to return early after the terrorist bombing near their hotel might have damaged their prospects of selection, all appeared against Pakistan. Cairns, who had missed the tour because of kidney surgery, was also selected but after two outings for Canterbury decided to withdraw.
The pace bowling on both sides was much stronger than the batting. Neither made more than 158 in any of the one-day games, and Mark Greatmatch's 133 on the second day of the Test was the only century for either team throughout the visit. Pakistan's captain and leading batsman, Javed Miandad, was conscientious and reasonably productive without ever being near top form; his opposite number, Martin Crowe, shone in the one-day series but missed the Test through injury. The dominance of the fast bowlers reached a climax on the fourth afternoon at Hamilton, when Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis gave a magnificently sustained exhibition to despatch New Zealand for 93 and earn a dramatic 33-run victory.
New Zealand won the limited-overs series 2-1 after Pakistan took the first match at Wellington. The one-day specialist Gavin Larsen - who had given up the chance of his long-awaited Test debut by coming back from Sri Lanka - made a big contribution, bowling 29 overs of slow-medium pace from his stiff-legged approach for only 65 runs. New Zealand's fielders had a clear edge in the one-day matches, but in the Test the vital chance for Pakistan was held and that for New Zealand dropped.
The tour may be most clearly remembered, however, for a regrettable landmark in cricket history. After Pakistan's limited-overs defeat at Napier, Aqib Javed became the first international cricketer to be suspended for his behaviour on field. Australian referee Peter Burge banned him from the deciding fixture of the series for obscene abuse of an umpire who had no-balled him. Aqib already had the unfortunate distinction of having been the first player to be fined under the same ICC rules, during the Old Trafford Test six months earlier. The Pakistanis had an unsuccessful tour of Australia. After one victory and a tie they lost their last six World Series matches, though they won their only first-class game, played over four days against Queensland. Before their next trip, to Sharjah and South Africa in February, Miandad was replaced as captain by Wasim. Waqar, who had helped him carry the team to victory in the Hamilton Test, was named as his deputy.
Match reports for