With the T20 World Cup all over, the attention is now on the upcoming series between India and New Zealand, comprising three T20Is and as many ODIs. India would be led by Hardik Pandya in the shortest format, while in the ODIs, Shikhar Dhawan would be the captain. On Tuesday, New Zealand named a full-strength squad, with Kane Williamson being the in-charge. Trent Boult and Martin Guptill have been left out of the squad, and in their places, Adam Milne and Finn Allen have been given a chance.
New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson spoke to NDTV on Tuesday, where he talked about the selection calls, the rise of Umran Malik, the debate over strike-rate in the shortest format and the series against India which will be played shortly after the World Cup. Running the non-striker out when he/she is too far ahead when the bowler is about to bowl, is being talked out a lot, and Williamson believes that this mode of dismissal is not an “attractive part of the game”.
“It is not something we are looking to do. It has been spoken a lot. Personally, I do not think it is a very attractive part of the game. You know, you compete, you do all you can and you want to make sure that people are not looking to get an advantage by leaving the crease a long way early. But I do not think it is a great part of the game. Most people turn up to see the competition between the bat and ball, not seeing a ball not being bowled,” Williamson told NDTV.
In the T20 World Cup, one saw Glenn Phillips sort of taking a sprinter like stance at the non-striker’s end and speaking about that, Williamson said: “We certainly did not speak about that. It was all Glenn. You know, he is pretty quick and he thought maybe starting like a sprinter will probably add more. He could have maybe stood outside his crease and put his bat in, and get a head start. There are few different theories out there,” he added.
“Glenn is an incredibly special player and he had an incredible World Cup, where he played incredible knocks for us. We know how special he is as an athlete. He is such a valuable player and he brings that X-factor to our team,” he added.
Williamson has seen speedster Umran Malik from close quarters while he was leading the SunRisers Hyderabad in the IPL. Now, Umran will be playing for India in the T20I series. Talking about Umran, Williamson said: “Yeah, he is super talented and has the ability to bowl that 150 mark, which is not something too many in the world can do. Every opportunity he gets, he would be learning more and more. Last season in the IPL, was a great experience for him and he had some great moments as well. He is a special talent.”
Trent Boult opted out of his central contract earlier this year, and even though he played the T20 World Cup, the pacer has not selected for the series against India.
“There is a lot to work through and what that picture looks like. It is a moving landscape and there is a balance to strike. It is new for everybody, the number of players who have made this decision are still very keen to play for New Zealand. We want to see the balance around those options and as a team, you are always looking to build. This presents opportunity for the other guys to commit to roles in the team. It is one to work through, I suppose,” said Williamson.
When asked whether he sees playing all the upcoming games for New Zealand, the Kiwi captain said: “All the games and all the formats, I suppose, like anybody, we have to manage all the players. Certainly, the players involved in all the formats. I think we have had more days of cricket this year than we have ever had in the history of the game. Yeah, it is important to keep players fresh. My elbow is getting better with time, so touchwood.”
India and New Zealand would be playing a series five days after the T20 World Cup ended. Next year, ODI World Cup is slated to be held in India, and Williamson echoed the sentiment that cricket boards look to prioritise the formats in which they have to play a World Cup in the coming months.
“That seems to hugely happen, boards prioritise and work backwards from the major events and factor in the format that is about to come up,” said Williamson.
Talking about the criticism surrounding the lower strike-rates in T20s, Williamson said: “Yeah, I think it is all about what the team needs and requires and navigating different situations and how that looks. As players, you always want to take the innings further and things like that. In T20s, it is pretty fickle in terms of its nature. Sometimes, the strike-rate is lower and sometimes it is higher. You factor in situations and the partnerships; the outcome is kind of what it is. You are always working hard to improve and sometimes you see valuable contributions which are of a lower strike-rate. On other days, there are higher strike-rates. It is very much situation dependent.”
New Zealand Squad: Kane Williamson (c), Finn Allen, Michael Bracewell, Devon Conway, Lockie Ferguson, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Adam Milne, Glenn Phillips, Jimmy Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Blair Tickner.
Cricket enthusiasts in India can watch the India tour of New Zealand series on Prime Video starting from November 18, 2022. Pre coverage starts from 11 am onwards for T20I and 6 am onwards for ODI.