Kane Williamson says New Zealand will be adaptable at World Cup
Kane Williamson knows there is more than one way to win a match and the Kiwi skipper has forecast a return to the ‘scrappy’ one-day cricket of the past if they are to lift the World Cup in 2019.
Brendon McCullum’s master blasters destroyed all in their path on their way to the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup final four years ago on home soil.
But in the final against Australia their all-out aggression came unstuck and they had to settle for a runners-up finish in the end.
Fast-forward to 2019, and Williamson is now in charge of a Black Caps side that sit fourth in the ODI rankings and kick off their campaign in Cardiff on Saturday against Sri Lanka.
And in English conditions – despite plenty of pre-tournament chat about hitting the mythical 500-mark – Williamson insists adaptability rather than aggression is the order of the day.
“There has been a lot of talk about really high scores but I think there will be a number of games where that isn’t the case and it will require adjustment,” he said.
“For us at the last World Cup, there was a trend in how we played. It was about being smart with the crop that we had to try and get the best performance.
“That meant we were aggressive, the ball swung and we looked to use that.
“We are yet to know how things will shape in this tournament, but the last few years we have been growing and it is about adjusting to the day.
“Guys maybe will have to push harder on a particular surface on a given day, but equally it might be about adjusting to what one-day cricket used to look a little bit like. Scores that are a bit lower and much more of that scrappy type.
“There will not be one way to play.
“We know that not every game will be a 350 score, and it’s important to be made aware of that as we go throughout this tournament.
“It’s easy to get ahead of yourself and think, this is what we are going to need to do versus what do we need to do now in this current situation to give us the best chance?”
Nowhere was that more evident than in their warm-up clashes against India and West Indies.
They skittled India in a comfortable low-scoring win at The Oval, before being edged out by the Caribbean outfit in a run-fest at Bristol.
But the Kiwis have a clean bill of health ahead of the Sri Lanka clash, a side they beat handsomely four years ago, coincidentally also in their World Cup opener.
That means wicket-keeper Tom Latham is back fit and firing from a finger injury that forced him out of the warm-ups.
And despite a 3-0 series win over Sri Lanka on home soil back at the start of the year, Williamson is not going to underestimate their opponents.
“I don’t know how much the past really counts for as we come into a tournament. It is on the day and we know in this competition that every team can beat any of the other teams,” he added.
“We are certainly treating all of our matches like that and want to bring the focus back onto the cricket we want to play.
“We know the Sri Lankan side is a bit different to the one we played at home, but we have no doubt that they are a tough side.”
©Cricket World 2019