New Zealand will not fall into the trap of underestimating hosts Zimbabwe according to coach Mike Hesson.
Hesson is wary of the opposition, many of whom are an unknown quantity for the Blackcaps, and the coach expects the series to be hotly contested.
Zimbabwe have not played Test cricket since November 2014 but Hesson believes their knowledge of the conditions will make them fierce opponents.
Speaking to the press ahead of a tour match against Zimbabwe A, Hesson said: “We toured Zimbabwe last year for limited overs series and the One Day International series was fiercely fought,
“The last time we played Test cricket in Bulawayo it was well fought, we also expect a tough series in the Test matches this time around.”
New Zealand have spent some time preparing for conditions in Zimbabwe, by training at altitude in Pretoria, South Africa, but Hesson believes the conditions may yet pose them some problems: “Conditions will pose a challenge for taking 20 wickets and Zimbabwe players know their conditions very well.
“We respect them, we respect every opposition that we face regardless of their ranking. We cannot under estimate Zimbabwe in their own conditions,”
Having not played any Test cricket for the last three months, the Blackcaps will be keen to make the most of their three day tour game against Zimbabwe A, Hesson commented: “Getting together in a competitive environment will be important for us even though the conditions are different to those in Bulawayo.
“It will be a worthwhile experience for us,”
The first of two Tests gets underway in Bulawayo on the 28th of July.