For the second year in a row, India and New Zealand are going to lock horns within a week after the T20 World Cup. While Hardik Pandya’s captaincy in three T20Is will be in focus in the first week of the tour, to be streamed on Prime Video, the focus will switch to the ODI format in the latter half with an eye on next year’s ODI World Cup.
In an interaction with The Hindu, New Zealand captain Kane Williamson spelt out the biggest threat that the Kiwis will have to tackle over the next fortnight.
How do you get yourself right up there after a high pressure event like the World Cup?
That’s a good question. Obviously not just the World Cup, but the schedules even prior have been busy and it has been so for everybody. And I suppose after major events there’s an opportunity or sometimes there is to have a few days and you relax and then you come back together as a group. But as we know, the schedule is pretty full. So any opportunity that you get to play against India is always a special one and the teams are looking forward to that. I think a number of players in the Indian side are resting and they’ve brought in a number of other players, so clearly they see some of the challenges that are being faced with such tight schedules. But it’s the nature of the beast. So I guess last year being in the tournament for a little bit longer meant that the turnaround was quicker, but this time there was maybe a couple more days. So yeah, it’s the way the schedule is really.
Would you say that over the next couple of weeks, the focus will shift more towards ODIs rather than T20Is?
The focus will be on the game we are playing, but obviously there’s a World Cup just around the corner for ODI cricket, so yeah. In terms of playing as a side and working on the environment is of importance, so regardless of the format and the occasion to play against India is always a special one. The focus will be on all the games but no doubt, the ODI cricket is the focus for all the teams as a format in particular.
Lockie Ferguson is also missing from the Black Caps line-up. Is he going to be used sparingly with an eye on the next two years?
He will be managed like most of the players and what he does in particular, the stress he puts on his body with the pace at which he does, that’s something that’s being done for a number of years for a lot of players. We’ll have to balance the workload and the workload is busy, so that’ll be something to consider for a lot of players.
Who do you think will be the biggest threat from the Indian team?
Having played against most of those players, if not all of them, I know that they have match-winners throughout. Recently that we have seen, Suryakumar (Yadav), the No. 1 T20 player in the world, so no doubt he is a huge talent and someone to look out for.
Any surprise that you have up your sleeves to tackle Suryakumar’s onslaught?
Maybe we need to tackle him (laughs). As a team, we will sit down when the whole squad arrives and discuss our options. But he is a special player who hits the ball to all areas, so a real challenge.
What do you when you are not involved in cricket?
I have two children, so that takes up quite a lot of time and that’s something I love as well. In terms of other hobbies, a bit of surfing, which is hard to do when you have two littlies. But before that and a bit of reading and hanging out with friends and family.
Just maybe going down the coast, heading to the beach, that’s something I like doing.
Are you more of a book reader or a screen-buff?
A bit of both. I do like to read but equally, long plane rides and a lot of time at hotels, so watch a few TV shows as well.
A teammate with the messiest room ever?
Messiest room ever. Oh, B.J. Watling. That’s for sure.