We were under no illusions how difficult Pakistan were going to be.

The belief is there

We were under no illusions coming over to the UAE as to just how difficult an opposition Pakistan were going to be.

In the first Test in Abu Dhabi they certainly lived up to those expectations, deservedly taking a 1-0 lead with a comfortable first up win. You have to hand it to them - it’s their third near-perfect Test performance on the trot.

While winning the toss may have been as important as any moment in the match, they still took full advantage and carried on their tremendous form from their recent series win against Australia. As good as they may have been though, there’s still a huge belief within our group that we’re able to compete well in this series. The players are well aware of the areas that we need to work on to put in a better performance.

Myself and the rest of the coaching staff were impressed with the way the guys trained in between Tests and can assure that there’s no shortage of desire. Pressure is the key. It’s fair to say Pakistan have been so dominant of late that no team has managed to steal the momentum from them. If we can get on the front foot early it will be interesting to see how Pakistan respond to that test. It’s easier said than done, but I believe we have the talent and the character within the group to do so.

One of the bright points from the series so far has been the terrific form from Tom Latham. For a player so young to have the composure and maturity at the crease which he has shown is a testament to how good a batsman he is. It’s still very early days in his career, but the way he carries himself bodes well for the future and is another exciting batting talent for New Zealand Cricket.

Away from the park the boys have adapted well to the conditions in UAE. While still plenty hot enough (especially coming from Dunedin), the heat hasn’t been as brutal as we might have expected, much to the bowlers joy in particular.

To keep us extra warm, a number of the players and support staff are participating in Movember, myself included. There are some pretty horrendous efforts amongst the group and you have to look pretty hard to see our spin coach Paul Wiseman’s attempt, but it’s a great cause to get behind.

Check out everyone who’s involved and donate. As always really appreciate the support from back home and it’s been nice to hear about fans burning the midnight oil to watch us play. Hopefully by the next time I post the series will be 1-1! Cheers Mike

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