New Zealand’s century-maker Tom Latham on Thursday said tackling the spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal is their main focus going into the three-match ODI series against India starting Sunday.
Latham, who struck a brisk 108 off 97 balls in New Zealand’s 33-run win over Board President’s XI in the second practice game, said the visitors are relying on video footage to study the Indian spinners.
“Our focus is big on spin here. We are focussing on facing more spin than seam here and finding ways to score, to hit gaps and find boundaries. That’s probably the biggest thing coming over here,” said the left-handed batsman at the post-match press conference. “Playing against a couple of left armers and the leggie (Karn Sharma) today was an ideal preparation. Whatever we need we can get, stuff from the footage and that sort of things. We obviously know that they (Kuldeep and Chahal) are quality bowlers and they have done really well in the previous series,” Latham added.
Latham, who batted at No.5 instead of his usual opening slot, said that batting down the order was more of a mental shift. “It is probably a more of a mental shift than technical. I guess it is about sticking to your game plan. The ball is not as quite as new but, on the other hand, there are more gaps and I guess it is more tactical and mental switch as against anything else,” said Latham, who hit a half-century in the first practice game.
“Yeah it is obviously a little bit of change from the last couple of years but that is something we have discussed about. It was nice to have spent some time in the middle and get familiar with the role today. Having Colin (Munro) at the top can be very destructive and if he and Martin (Guptill) can get going, they can be unstoppable,” he added.
New Zealand found some much-needed momentum heading into the series, as they beat Board President’s XI after Ross Taylor and Latham struck breezy centuries. Post Luke Ronchi, Latham has been keeping wickets for the Kiwis and he said he was putting in a lot more hard work in his new role.
Meanwhile, Saurashtra pacer Jaydev Unadkar, who struck a 44-run cameo off 24 balls for the Board President’s XI, said he was batting well since the last couple of domestic seasons. He also returned with figures of four for 57 with the ball. “I was batting well since the last two seasons in domestic cricket. But I have got the confidence and I am happy that it is coming on in the bigger stage. Today’s knock will boost my confidence,” Unadkat said. “I will definitely be looking to add that dimension (of batting) to my game because that is what is the need of the hour, a bowler who can bat and slog well is always beneficial for the team,” he added.
The left-arm pacer, who played for the Rising Pune Supergiants, said his performance in the IPL boosted his confidence. “The way I was bowling in the IPL did give me a lot of confidence, and sometimes it’s all about confidence for a bowler. I am in good rhythm and I am confident of bowling what I want to bowl. All is looking good for me and I need to continue,” Unadkat said.
The Saurashtra pacer said being in the selectors’ radar motivates him. “It’s a good thing to be in the radar of the selectors or the team management. It motivates you, pushes you to do even harder, to get that place in the (India) team. I have played for the country in the past and I know what it takes to be there. So, to keep developing as a player is all I can do and I hope that I can get a chance to play for the country again and prove myself. I got the chance because I deserved it and I am good enough to bowl,” Unadkat said.