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McCullum wants better rakings, Misbah consistency

ABU DHABI: New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum on Saturday targeted an improvement in his side’s Test rankings going into the series against Pakistan starting in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

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New Zealand, currently ranked seventh among 10 Test playing nations, can climb the ladder if they win the three-match series, a target McCullum sets his sights on.

“If we perform well against Pakistan then we can look back on the last 18 months of pretty solid work and we are aware that we are a team who need to keep performing day in, day out because we are well down the ladder in the rankings and we are not happy with that,” McCullum said on Saturday.

“We want to keep improving and we work incredibly hard and this is a great opportunity to do so.”

A 1-0 victory in the three-Test series for New Zealand would lift them to sixth position with Pakistan, currently third, dropping to fifth position.

A 2-0 win would push them into fifth with Pakistan slipping to sixth.

McCullum admitted Pakistan are tough opponents.

“I think obviously Pakistan were excellent in their most recent series against Australia and thoroughly deserved their win,” said McCullum of Pakistan’s 2-0 over Australia.

McCullum hoped his team would prove a different prospect to Australia.

“I think we have nice mix in the group with right and left option (in batting) which probably Australia didn’t have in the middle against the spin and hopefully that’s one of the factors that can help us combat their line up.”

McCullum confirmed his team will play both the spinners — Ish Sodhi and Mark Craig — with two all-rounders in Jimmy Neesham and Corey Anderson and two seamers Tim Southee and Trent Boult.

McCullum will open the innings with Rod Latham, a role he has successfully done in the past. -AFP

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McCullum wants better rakings, Misbah consistency

by Zohaib Kazmi