New Zealand has reached the semifinals of the last four editions of the 50-over World Cup and has been runner-up in the previous two. Yet, the team is considered the proverbial underdog heading into a big event. It is something that confounds Tom Latham as well.
But ahead of the opening match against defending champion England, the Black Cap stand-in skipper is happy to fly under the radar and focus on their brand of cricket.
“We don’t necessarily focus on that. We tend to, I guess, Kiwis fly under the radar a little bit and go about our business in the way that we want to. Every team has a different brand they like to play, a style they like to play in, and we have ours,” said Latham.
“We know if we do that and play to the best of our ability, we are hard to beat on the day. I guess that’s something about these tournaments where you play everyone once; it’s about turning up on that specific day and trying to play your best brand of cricket,” he added.
Speaking about the challenge of taking on England with its deep batting line-up and hard-hitting approach, Latham felt it also offers the opponents a chance.
“For us, it is about trying to plan as best you can; in terms of our scouting and areas that we want to bowl in, we want to put pressure on. If we can do that and make some early inroads, that will be great. We know they will keep coming hard, which also presents us with opportunities,” said the 31-year-old.
With Kane Williamson not available for at least the first match, a player like Daryl Mitchell becomes crucial in the batting line-up with his ability to switch gears.
“Daryl’s been fantastic over the last 18 months to two years. He has come on leaps and bounds from when he has played international cricket. And I think in the opportunities he has been given at the top of the order or towards the top, he has certainly taken those,” said Latham.
“And certainly, one day cricket, he’s been fantastic in batting through and putting some big numbers on the board. I think from his point of view, he goes out there and plays his style. The good thing about Daryl is that he’s adaptable to every situation. He can knuckle down if he needs to and play an expansive cricket brand as well. So, I think that’s the beauty about him; he can play in every situation, and I’m sure he will be looking forward to doing that over the next six weeks,” added the New Zealand skipper.
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