Missing a World Cup is hard to accept, specially for a cricketer who is one of the fastest to score an ODI ton. Five years ago, the 36-ball onslaught against the Caribbeans had rolled out the red carpet for Corey Anderson. Within a year, he was playing the Cup final against Australia.
A series of injuries caused roadblocks and has stopped him helping the Kiwis undo the errors that they committed on that Melbourne afternoon. Not being part of Cricket World Cup 2019 doesn’t curb the spirit of Anderson. His smooth recovery post the labrum surgery is taking him closer to cricket.
Ahead of India’s clash against New Zealand, Sportstar caught up with the all-rounder from the class of Brendon McCullum to discuss the rise of Black Caps in white-ball cricket.
Having played with the bunch who are playing the World Cup, how do you assess this Black Caps side? How different is it from 2015?
I think the only difference is the loss of Brendon McCullum, Daniel Vettori and Grant Elliott. The national team lost on experience as they were players of high calibre. But you move on and find different ways to win. The experience the guys have had over the last four years is tremendous, by playing in different countries. It has been a reasonably consistent side under Kane Williamson.
The likes of Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor – most of the guys have been in the main side since the 2015 World Cup. These are the guys who have been in a World Cup position, some for the third time. They have been playing a lot of cricket. New Zealand is an extremely competitive side, a great side who can try and win the World Cup.
There are bowlers like Lockie Ferguson who came in later to bolster the bowling attack. With Matt Henry and Boult in full swing, it is quite a threatening attack…
The bowling has been really good in the last five to six years, led by Boult and Southee. The inclusion of guys like Ferguson in the last couple of years — who can bowl fast — and all-rounders like James Neesham and Colin de Grandhomme offer you enough with the ball. Then, you have a Mitchell Santner, who I guess, is a little bit of Vettori as the spinner.
All the bowlers have done extremely well worldwide. They have different variations and they complement each other really well. Kane’s job is a lot easier as these bowlers can bowl in different situations. If the World Cup goes deeper in competition, the experience of these bowlers will be useful.
You all had bowled out India for 79 in a World T20 match; courtesy Santner and Ish Sodhi. How do you see spin as a weapon for the Black Caps, against India, and in the tournament?
It will depend a lot on the conditions, I know it has been raining. I hope it is not rained out. It could well be a reduced-over game, that can play a major part [in deciding a winner] as I have seen in many cases. A quality spinner is good against India, but probably one spinner.
Look at Santner’s role and how well he has done in the previous game, creating pressure in the middle overs and then, you have a Ferguson who can go bang bang a pick up a couple of wickets. Spin will definitely play a part but not as that game, that was a turner. Spin will play a big part, but slightly in a different way, and the India and New Zealand batsmen need to find a way to negate that.
Do you think Shikhar Dhawan’s injury is advantage New Zealand?
To be honest, it is a hell of a lineup. I know personally how it feels to take a quality player like him out of the side, but with the evolution of IPL, most players are stronger in all formats. And in the last few years, anyone is coming into the role. It looks lot easier as a player like Dhawan has been there.
How is your body doing? When do you plan to return to training?
The recovery has been smooth. In two weeks, I think I can pick up the cricket bat again. With the World T20 coming up in 2020, it will be good to make a comeback and focus on winning that title, the next event after the big World Cup.