Tom Latham: I think something we pride ourselves on as a group is being able to adapt as best we can
Two days before the match, New Zealand arrived at the venue of the tournament’s opening game in Ahmedabad, but when their stand-in captain Tom Latham addressed the media, they had not even stepped foot on the pitch while the day was full of activities, starting with a brief training session and ending with a launch event featuring all the captains.
As one of the best-prepared teams for international tournaments, New Zealand can compete on an equal footing with teams that have greater populations. They must seize every opportunity to improve their already impressive record, which includes reaching at least the semifinals in the last four World Cups.
New Zealand faces the same opposition in the opening match of what will almost certainly be the most watched World Cup, but without the brutal boundary countback rule that cost them the championship four years ago.
This is a weird old tournament. Two days before the match, New Zealand arrived at the venue of the tournament’s opening game in Ahmedabad, but when their stand-in captain Tom Latham addressed the media, they had not even stepped foot on the pitch. The day was full of activities, starting with a brief training session and ending with a launch event featuring all the captains.
India is already a challenging country to scout. They had to wait years for their next ODI due to so many venues, which provides little information regarding the nature of the pitches. Some venues, like Ahmedabad, have two different types of soil on the square, each having its own different set of behaviors.
To make it worse, the teams have hardly played their full-strength squads between the two World Cups, due to injuries or the desire to protect their best players from the more demanding schedules.
Due to this, it is essential that New Zealand’s other well-known quality, flexibility, which is dependent on scouting, does the heavy lifting. Latham mostly discussed this topic in his press conference on the eve of the World Cup opening.
“Obviously, the end goal is to be there at the end [of the tournament], which I’m sure every team has,”Latham said when asked if he was confident they could adapt.
“But I think something we pride ourselves on as a group is being able to adapt as best we can. We are lucky that we have guys who have played plenty of crickets in these parts of the world, whether it is against India or in the IPL.
“We have got that mix of experience where we can lean on guys around. [Some] guys have played at this ground, some guys haven’t. So adapting is a really important part of playing in these conditions that can change throughout the game. It is being able to think on our feet a little bit and make sure we stay ahead of the game.”
For New Zealand, the tournament preparation has not gone well. Since Tim Southee and Kane Williamson are still healing from their injuries, they must be chosen from a team of 13 for the opening game.
They may not have been in a contemplative mindset about how some of them may be approaching the end of a golden run of three or four World Cups because the band is not yet fully formed.
“I’m sure guys don’t want to jump the gun,”Latham said.
“Everyone is in a slightly different situation in terms of what the future may look like. But for us, we are trying to enjoy the next sort of couple of months together as a group, and have it however that pans out. Hopefully for the good. We are just trying to enjoy each other’s company over the next time on such a special occasion playing cricket over here in India. Embrace what comes with being over here; I’m sure guys will make decisions around what that may look like for them in the future.”
“It’s obviously great to see Kane back, to see him batting. It’s like he had never left to be honest, in terms of with the bat. It’s great to see him moving well. He is playing all the shots that he used to play, which is great, and to see him back in the field is another stepping stone in terms of where he needs to get to in terms of his recovery. It’s a day-by-day process with him making sure that whenever he is available he has ticked everything off all that he needs to do.”
“Southee is tracking along well. He is nearly two weeks post-surgery. So for him, it’s a day-by-day process as well in terms of making sure that he is in the right frame in terms of bowling and fielding. I’m sure once he gets back into his skill, he will be willing to go if that opportunity comes.”
New Zealand World Cup Squad 2023: Kane Williamson (c), Trent Boult, Mark Chapman, Devon Conway, Lockie Ferguson, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Jimmy Neesham, Glenn Phillips, Rachin Ravindra, Mitch Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Will Young