Pakistan train for historic New Zealand series in Rawalpindi - in pictures

Visitors missing a number of key players for their first tour of the country in 18 years

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Pakistan players began preparations for what promises to be a crucial few weeks of white-ball cricket.

New Zealand are in Pakistan for their first visit to the country in 18 years, and the significance of the tour does not end there. The Black Caps made it to the finals of the last two world tournaments - the 50-over World Cup in 2019 which they lost, and the World Test Championship final earlier in the year that they won.

A limited overs series between Pakistan and the Kiwis is therefore of great significance for both teams. Pakistan, who will be without Misbah-ul-Haq and Waqar Younis following their resignation from coaching roles, will get to know where they stand in the international pecking order. The Kiwis, meanwhile, will be desperate for some uplifting news after their 3-2 T20 series defeat in Bangladesh.

The tour begins with a three-match ODI series in Rawalpindi, beginning Friday, followed by five T20s.

New Zealand are without their top players, who are in the UAE for the Indian Premier League. They include captain Kane Williamson and fast-bowling trio Trent Boult, Tim Southee and Kyle Jamieson.

However, Pakistan captain Babar Azam is not taking his opponents lightly.

"It would have been nicer had their best team come," said Babar. "But whatever the composition of their team we will play to our best and win the series."

Updated: September 15, 2021, 1:27 PM