‘Expect the unexpected’: The Black Caps’ plan to change in UAE

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NZ’s Kane Williamson, left, and Tim Southee in action during the Twenty/20 cricket international between India and New Zealand in Auckland. Photo / Photosport.co.nz

It could be ‘expect the unexpected’ from the Black Caps at this month’s Twenty20 World Cup in the UAE.

Coach Gary Stead says the varying difference between the three grounds where they will be playing during the Super 12 phase could see the side change their approach to what their opponents are planning.

“The three grounds look quite different,” Stead said. “Sharjah, Abu Dhabi and Dubai all have quite different characteristics in the way they are playing, in whether teams prefer to bat first or chase. It’s interesting looking at all the numbers and data that comes from that and working out our plans in the way that we play.

“We’re pretty clear on the style of play we’re trying to do but maybe in this tournament we’ve got to be adaptable to perhaps change and throw the odd thing back at the opposition that they’re not going to perhaps think that might happen,” he added.

Black Caps Head Coach Gary Stead and new coach Glenn Pocknall during the Black Caps New Zealand Cricket training session. Photo / Photosport.co.nz
Black Caps Head Coach Gary Stead and new coach Glenn Pocknall during the Black Caps New Zealand Cricket training session. Photo / Photosport.co.nz

New Zealand have never played a T20 international in Sharjah and last played in Abu Dhabi and Dubai in 2018. Their record at Dubai International Cricket Stadium, where they will face Afghanistan, India and a qualifier during the World Cup, isn’t pretty with just one win from six matches, all against Pakistan.

The Black Caps welcomed experienced faces of Kane Williamson, Jimmy Neesham, Adam Milne and Trent Boult in recent days while they wait on five more players from the Indian Premier League.

The Black Caps have warm-up games against Netherlands, Australia and England before their opening game against Pakistan on October 27 and Stead said those short on game time after the cancelled Pakistan tour will be getting priority in those matches.

Stead also allayed fears of Williamson missing the start of the tournament after he sat out the final IPL group game for Sunrisers Hyderabad.

“He’s fine. He had a very slight hamstring twinge. He’s getting through everything at the moment, He’s feeling good. They were out of the competition as well so I’m not sure it was something he had to play in.” Stead said.

The players are battling hot conditions in Dubai in recent days as they acclimatise for the month-long tournament.

“Today we probably trained in the hottest part of the day. It’s 2pm and it’s somewhere between 35-38 degrees. You can feel you burn pretty quick,” Stead said.

“We’ve just got to keep the fluids up. We had a run around today, It’s a little bit about shock therapy and getting people back into the hot weather and working hard but also making sure we manage guys in the next wee while.”



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