New Zealand may be on a roll having notched up two big wins in the ICC World Twenty20 but coach Mike Hesson on Monday sought to downplay the hype surrounding his team, saying Tuesday’s match against Pakistan will be a challenge because of their unpredictability and pace attack. (Full Coverage|| Fixtures||Photos)
Victories against favourites India and Australia not withstanding, Hesson said they guarantee nothing.
“We don’t think too far ahead of ourselves, we had a couple of good games of cricket against some good sides, I think we have played pretty well, but it doesn’t guarantee that you are going to play well next time. It’s important we train well on Monday and prepare as best we can,” Hesson said addressing a press conference on the eve of the match.
Asked if he thinks Pakistan are an unpredictable side, the coach replied in affirmative. “Yes, they are unpredictable, but very skillful.”
He pointed out that the opponents have got a variety of left-arm pacers in their bowling attack.
“Their bowling attack, in particular, is very challenging. I think Pakistan certainly pose a different challenge with the pace they have and their bowling attack is completely different than what we have faced in the last couple of games.”
At the same time the coach also said, “We are fortunate enough we played against them in recent times. I think as a batting unit, they are relatively predictable the way they play, and that certainly provides us with opportunities with the ball.”
New Zealand have emerged as one of the strong contenders to lift the coveted trophy on April 3. Another win and they will be in the knockout stages of the mega-event. While the spinners stood out in both games with a bagful of wickets on pitches that aided turn, left-arm fast medium bowler Mitchell McClenaghan proved to be Australia’s nemesis with a three-wicket burst in hilly Dharamsala.
To another question, Hesson said they pick the squad to suit all conditions.
“I think perhaps in the past, we have tried to play the New Zealand way in the sub-continent, in terms of what has worked well for us. I think during this tournament till date, it’s only two games, but I think we have adapted a lot better than perhaps we have in the past. That said, this pitch will create different challenges for us, first of all we will have to read it properly,” he said.
On the dominance of ball over bat in quite a few matches in this event, Hesson said, “I think it has been quite two distinctive poles, I think further up north the ball has spun and turned and created some different experiences than normal, but obviously down Mumbai there has been a lot of runs as well, so I think the contrast is good, but to a degree. You don’t want anything that is too one-sided.”
About criteria of selecting team in the sub-conditions, he said a lot of things go into it but in the end “we just pick the team we think suits the conditions and the opposition as well”.
About Indian pitches, he said, “I think it is important to make your own assessment in what we see and make your own judgement there.”
On the usage of technology the Kiwi said, “I think it is always a combination, the more information you are able to gather, you can use your cricket knowledge to add to that.”
Meanwhile, he had a word of praise for young spinner of Indian origin Ish Sodhi, saying he has learnt the ropes over the last the years.