Acknowledging that the retirement of Brendon McCullum has left a huge void in the New Zealand cricket team, his brother Nathan said it was time for the players to move on under new skipper Kane Williamson.
“He had a big impact (on the team), but we need to move forward. And where we are right now, Kane Williamson is the captain. It’s an exciting team, (mix of) youth and experience, and I am really excited to be a part of it. The team has a real opportunity in the tournament,” said the 35-year-old all-rounder in a media interaction in Mumbai on Tuesday.
“It’s an exciting time. We are excited to play in such a big tournament and we are hopeful of doing well,” said McCullum.
New Zealand will play their opening match of World T20 against hosts India in Nagpur on March 15.
Nathan, who is an experienced campaigner in the Indian Premier League with his ability to bowl tight off spin, said the key for his team would be to adjust to the conditions as fast as possible.
“We have played here before and everyone in this team has played in front of thousands of spectators, including in the Big Bash (in Australia). I enjoy it,” said the Kiwi player.
“The number of players playing in IPL in this part of the world would benefit. The biggest challenge is to get used to the conditions. And the faster we do it the better.
“It’s a tough format and it’s a tough tournament. You have 14 teams and there are no easy games. The beauty of T20 is if you get on a roll then you can do really well in this tournament.
“For us, the first job is getting used to conditions in the next few days and the next part is the match against India. From then on it’s the stepping stone to get better throughout the tournament,” said the all rounder, who has played in all the previous five editions of the event that began in 2007.
Saying that the sub continent pitches provide more opportunities to slow bowlers to attack, McCullum said he could be opening the bowling for his country, similar to what Ravichandran Ashwin has done with a fair amount of success for India.
“There are more opportunities in the sub continent to attack in 24 balls than in New Zealand with short boundaries and flat pitches. It’s more an awareness of what role you are to play and at which time.
“I have opened (bowling) a number of times for New Zealand before and there’s a chance of doing so in this tournament.”
Describing Ashwin as “brilliant”, McCullum hoped his team’s batsmen can take the Indian off spinner down in the game at Nagpur.
“He’s a brilliant bowler and I enjoy watching him bowl. He’s got huge knowledge of conditions. Hopefully we can take him down in that first game,” said the experienced Kiwi cricketer.
McCullum pointed out that New Zealand may have done well but never never won an ICC tournament in the past.
“We have traditionally done okay, but we have not won any (tournament). It’s a challenge for us. Hopefully we can go far in the tournament.”