New Zealand v Pakistan 2016
Arthur notes Kiwi leg-spinner recall
The former Australia coach weighs into New Zealand's selection of Todd Astle
AAP & Cricket Network
11 November 2016, 04:25 PM AEST
Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur has labelled New Zealand’s recall of leg-spinner Todd Astle from the Test wilderness as an “interesting” selection and questioned how he’ll fare bowling to some of the best players of slow-bowling in the world.
The Kiwis dumped struggling opener Martin Guptill from their squad for the first Test in Christchurch, with uncapped duo Jeet Raval and Colin de Grandhomme, as well as Astle all included.
The selection of the 30-year-old Astle, almost four years after his Test debut in Sri Lanka in 2012, caught the eye of Arthur, who suggested it could be a risk to play an attacking wrist-spinner against a side noted for their proficiency against the turning ball.
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"I guess if they're not going to play four quicks in Christchurch, he's definitely playing which is an interesting selection,” Arthur said on Friday.
"Legspinners generally are wicket-takers so they must be looking at him to strike, much like we do with Yasir (Shah).
“And if the wicket isn't conducive to that, it'll be interesting to see if he can bowl to a defensive plan as well."
"Our guys are good players of spin because that's how they're brought up so it'll be interesting to see how [Astle] goes.
“I was actually looking at his numbers and doing a bit of analysis and his numbers seem fairly good, I mean he's certainly an attacking spinner."
After their 3-0 series whitewash at the hands of India, the Black Caps finally lost patience with Guptill and dumped him for their series against Pakistan.
The powerful right-hander has endured a lean run with the bat in the Test arena, having gone 10 matches and almost a year without a Test century.
His 72 in the third Test against India was just his second half-century in 16 innings this year.
"With a lot of test matches for them coming up, they seem to have made some fairly big decisions, particularly on Guptill,” Arthur said.
"Guptill's a guy who can take it away from you but his numbers obviously haven't stacked up. Ultimately though, I've got a lot of respect for (the New Zealand selectors) and they know exactly what they're up to."
Play was been abandoned without a ball being bowled on the first day of Pakistan's three-day warm-up match against New Zealand A in Nelson.
The forecast suggests the covers won't be coming off at Saxton Oval anytime soon, with wet weather predicted to linger across the weekend for the fixture that precedes the two-Test series.
A toss was made, with New Zealand A skipper Henry Nicholls choosing to bat first but new Black Cap and New Zealand A opener Raval will have to wait for his opportunity for an early look at the Pakistan bowling line-up.
Pakistan had omitted four likely Test players from their 16-man squad – veteran batsman Younis Khan, leg-spinner Yasir Shah and left-arm quicks Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz.
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Pakistan meanwhile will send allrounder Mohammad Hafeez to undergo testing on his bowling action in Australia later this month.
The suspended off-spinner will have his action tested on November 17 at the Bupa National Cricket Centre in Brisbane – an ICC accredited independent testing facility – and Pakistan have flagged the possibility of Hafeez joining their squad for their tour of Australia later this year if he's cleared to resume bowling.
Pakistan is scheduled to tour Australia for three Tests and five one-day internationals, starting with the first Test at the Gabba on December 15, which is a day-night match.
Hafeez was banned last year from bowling in international cricket after he was reported for the second time in 12 months.