After a string of big losses, New Zealand’s campaign finds itself on a sticky wicket with a number of injury concerns ahead of a crucial match against Pakistan in Bengaluru on Saturday.
“One thing we do as Kiwis is we stay pretty grounded. We stay where our feet are, and injuries are things that we can’t control,” Black Caps batter Daryl Mitchell told reporters here on Friday.
Injuries to Kane Williamson (thumb fracture), Lockie Ferguson (Achilles heel), Mark Chapman (calf), Matt Henry (hamstring) have played a part in derailing a once unbeaten New Zealand, which now stands at the risk of losing its spot in the top four.
With Henry, who took 11 wickets in 11 games in the absence of Tim Southee, now ruled out and Kyle Jamieson in India as his replacement, New Zealand will have to consider and reconsider its combination ahead of a crucial game against Pakistan here.
“All I know is that the 11 guys that will take the field will be very proud to represent our country. We won’t make it bigger than what it is. It’s another two points for this tournament,” Mitchell added.
Both New Zealand and Pakistan will hope to use the game at the batter-haven that is the Chinnaswamy Stadium to improve its position in the points tally. Showers punctuated by spells of setting sunshine might trigger creases on the foreheads of the NZ management but Mitchell said the team is looking to walk before they can run.
“You play to win games of cricket but for us, it’s about making sure we do what we do best. We’re not outcome focused. We never will be. We’ll control the things that we can control. And that stuff will take care of itself if we keep doing our jobs. That’s what we do as Black Caps and as Kiwis and it seems to have worked for a number of years now and we’ll just keep doing what we do and see what happens,” he explained.
Injury concerns are not team-specific in this World Cup with every side dealing with niggles and major misses in equal measure ahead of and during the tournament. This has given rise to questions about increasing the permitted strength of the squads for World Cups.
Mitchell quipped that this might be a conversation that’s above his pay grade and said that each player is focussing on the opportunity to don the New Zealand blacks and making hay when the sun shines.
“Look, we’re a small country, down at the bottom of the earth, and for us, it’s fighting for every ball, chasing every ball to the boundary, and doing the little things that we can control. The big stuff will look after itself if we’re clear on our roles, very detailed with how we go about our business, and you can work out our blueprint and our plan from that,” he added.
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