A series between the fourth and the seventh trial side of the world begins tomorrow in Abu Dhabi. Tell that to most people, and your shoulders might shrug instinctively in indifference. After all, it is unlikely that the UAE is the place where the test cricket makes the most persuasive case of attention. In New Zealand, we have a side whose fan base at home is neither big nor arguably the most passionate of cricket, while Pakistan plays out of its fan base in general. This, after all, is not a Big Three series, and these days it seems that if cricket takes place outside of those exclusive enclaves, it might not happen at all.
But in truth, the test classifications have little meaning for both Sides, taking into account the few tests that have been part of this year. Together, Kane Williamson and Sarfraz Ahmed have led their countries in all seven tests since the beginning of 2018, five for Pakistan and two for visitors. There have been four victories, two draws, and only one combined defeat, including home and away victories against England, and a home victory for Pakistan against Australia. In short, these are sides that have little use for the classifications assigned to them, which is fair, given that the world of abandonment cricket often condemns them.
But as the fiery supporters will not need any reminders, these two sides provided. It could be said that it is the most exciting series in the UAE since Pakistan started playing test cricket there. A comfortable victory for Pakistan in the first test was followed by an exciting draw in the second, where all three results seemed plausible until the final session.
The last test saw a magnificent victory from the side of Brendon McCullum, who unleashed a collapse of Pakistan after the hosts were placed in 285 for 3 in the first innings. It involved scoring nearly 700 runs in 143 passes and defeating Pakistan for a possibility within four days. Rarely has cricket been played at that rate in the Emirates, especially in a touring party that, after the first test, seemed destined to a laundry.
Pakistan used to be impregnable in the United Arab Emirates until Sri Lanka broke the unbeaten record in October last year. A 1-0 victory in the series over Australia last month was perhaps a sign that normal service was resuming, but it will take more than that to win over fans worried about their fall in the longer format. Pakistan will have to dispense with Fakhar Zaman, who rested after an excellent debut against Australia, and Shadab Khan, who has been carrying a small complaint.
Predicting how it could work New Zealand is a fool's chore; You may be taking stabbings in the dark. The last time they played an outside test more than two years ago, with numerous changes in the team, as well as in the coaching staff, have occurred since then. It is one of the challenges of both being New Zealand and playing them. Black Caps can never get a boost because they use international colors infrequently, while the opposition often has no idea what strategies to deploy against a unit for which there is little recent data.
Pakistan: WDLWW (last five complete matches, the most recent first)
New Zealand: DWWWD
In the spotlight  For Pakistan, there is little doubt that most of the attention will be placed on the simple shoulders of Mohammad Abbas . The average speed bowler had an extraordinary series against Australia last month, taking 17 winners in two events. Such was the discipline and the constant threat with which it was launched, which caused that Dale Steyn, a bowler so far from Abbas, could also be in different professions, to predict that Abbas would soon be at the top of the world ranking. The myth that the United Arab Emirates was just the spinners' hunting ground, which had vanished from the perception that only a pacemaker that took the tone out of the equation would have an opportunity here, is over. Abbas belongs to the fast bowling school (call it antiquated, conservative, even) that believes that whenever he throws the ball with a regular length with the slightest form and pose, he will worry the hitters. New Zealand knows very well that it will offer a unique challenge in the next series, unlike what they faced in 2014.
Neil Wagner was not part of the team that toured the United Arab Emirates in 2014, but I can not help but wonder if he is not the traditional bowler for these surfaces. His strategy, often controversial and unpopular, of shooting short and in the body during long spells may not be the most elegant, but 149 windows in 36 matches suggests that it has proven effective throughout his career. It keeps you in the game when fast players who rely on the novelty of the ball and the spice of the pitch become ineffective, putting the batter's concentration reserves to the test just when they might expect the race score to be easier . Pakistan has often struggled against the short ball, particularly the out-of-form Azhar Ali and the potentially psychologically-marked Imam-ul-Haq, who will play their first match tomorrow since a goalkeeper Lockie Ferguson made noise on his helmet in the ODI series . He took nine wickets in two Tests when Pakistan visited New Zealand in 2016, and while these surfaces might not bounce as high as those of Christchurch and Hamilton, Wagner has enough skill to ensure that batters, often literally, are alert when face him. .
With Fakhar Zaman not part of the team, Mohammad Hafeez will open with the Imam. It is unlikely that Shaheen Afridi will make his test debut tomorrow, leaving Mir Hamza and Hasan Ali to compete for the only fast bowler position.
Pakistan (possible): 1 Imam-ul-Haq, 2 Mohammad Hafeez, 3 Azhar Ali, 4 Haris Sohail, 5 Babar Azam, 6, Asad Shafiq, 7 Sarfraz Ahmed (capt & wk) , 8 Mir Hamza, 9 Bilal Asif, 10 Mohammad Abbas, 11 Yasir Shah
There was some doubt about Williamson's physical condition, but today he said at a press conference that he is most likely to play tomorrow.
New Zealand (possible): 1 Jeet Raval, 2 Tom Latham, 3 Kane Williamson (capt), 4 Ross Taylor, 5 BJ Watling (sem.), 6 Henry Nicholls, 7 Colin of Grandhomme , 8 Neil Wagner, 9 Tim Southee, 10 Trent Boult, 11 Ish Sodhi
Location and conditions
Clearing the skies over the next five days means that the rain that wiped out the final ODI in Dubai should not cause problems in Abu Dhabi this week. Against Australia, the surface remained solid to hit as Australia played more than 120 extra plays to tie a test match, so posting a high score in the first innings will be critical.
Statistics and trivia
New Zealand has only won 10 test matches out of 55 that have played against Pakistan. However, three of them have arrived the last three times that the two have faced each other.
No other player in the Pakistan squad was more than 18 years old when Mohammad Hafeez made his Pro debut in 2003. It would be another seven years before any of them. The current squad made their own test debuts
"We had a great series the last time we were here, but that is a long time ago, a lot has changed in terms of personnel since then. adapt with this inexperienced side with which we have come "
Kane Williamson gets the breath of the last departure of his team here without stopping in the past