NZ focusing on Pakistan, not potential World Test Championship final


New Zealand stand-in captain Tom Latham said on Monday their sole focus was the upcoming Test series against Pakistan despite their 2-0 sweep of West Indies putting them in contention for a place in next year’s World Test Championship (WTC) final.

New Zealand moved into third place in the table for the World Test Championship when they completed an innings and 12-run victory over West Indies in the second Test at the Basin Reserve after having already decimated Jason Holder’s side by an innings and 134 runs in the opening Test at Seddon Park in Hamilton last week.

The top two sides face each other in the final at Lord’s next year. The two ahead of New Zealand, Australia and India, will start a four-match series in Adelaide on Thursday.

“When you look too far ahead you can sometimes get caught out,” Latham, who stood in for the absent Kane Williamson at the Basin Reserve, told reporters. “Our focus will shift to Pakistan and whatever happens post that we’ll assess. The goal at the start of the Test championship was to get to that final, and if we play well we give ourselves a chance and it may be a possibility.”

New Zealand dominated West Indies in both Tests, posting big first innings totals after being put into bat in bowler-friendly conditions. Their bowlers then scythed through the tourists’ first innings to set up their big victories.

New Zealand head to Auckland on Tuesday to begin preparations for three Twenty20 Internationals — which starts from Friday at Eden Park — against Pakistan before a two-Test series begins in Mount Maunganui on Dec 26.

In order to remain in contention for the Test Championship final they must also sweep Pakistan and hope other results go their way, and Latham said their good form and knowledge of home conditions would give them every chance.

“We have been playing some good cricket of late,” Latham said. “In our conditions we certainly know how to play.”

Latham further said squad depth and their ability to adapt were the key factors in rout of the West Indies.

“Whoever comes into the side we expect them to do their role to the best of their ability,” Latham pointed out. “It was about everyone standing up and it was great we were able to do it without Kane. It’s great for our squad we do have depth.”


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