Playing a high-profile series within days of finishing a World Cup isn’t new to New Zealand. Last year, within hours of playing the T20 World Cup final against Australia in Dubai, they were en route to India for a T20I series.
This year, they’ve had an “extra day or two” following their semi-final loss to Pakistan. The only difference this time is, they will be playing at home against India, with the first of the three T20Is beginning in Wellington on Friday.
“Being so young as well, you see so much potential and talent and getting more cricket under his belt is only going to be more helpful to nurturing that and continuing his upward trend as a player. He’s looking forward to this series as well. He certainly goes out with the intention of playing very aggressively and playing his game, has a lot of conviction in how he wants to go about it. It’s been great to see and am sure that will continue.”
“Obviously with the moving landscape we’re presented with at the moment, players have made a number of different decisions,” Williamson said. “Trent, being a big part of our team, has done that. Although available, he’s got a few other things to focus on within the next period of time. There’s an opportunity at the moment with other guys on the fringe to get some opportunity and for us building and growing as a team is really important, but it’s all a bit new as well and there’s a lot of learning to be had over the next period, but Trent’s obviously a big part of the New Zealand cricket environment and has been for a long time. I think it’s going to be an important thing to learn and understand how it looks over the next period.”
“Adam Milne has been a really strong performer for a number of years, unfortunately had a few injuries along the way,” Williamson said. “He’s a super-talented athlete when fully fit and diving. Great to have him in the squad, he’s ready to go, great addition. Blair Tickner has been more involved in the last few years in a number of formats, so the bowling depth is reasonably strong and it’s nice to see some of these guys get a few opportunities.”
Elsewhere, in picking just one frontline spinner in Mitchell Santner in their ODI squad (although they also have the allrounder Michael Bracewell), New Zealand have given a peek into their horses-for-courses approach as they build into the series. “I’ve always been a believer that addressing what’s in front of you is a pretty good place to start in terms of preparation, and as you get further down the line you start changing that focus,” Williamson explained. “Tournament sport, as we’ve seen in the T20 World Cup, you’ve to adjust and look to pivot and make those changes quickly.
“There’s a lot of planning that goes into that, as a team, focusing on plans important to you in terms of continuing to grow and trend in the right direction is really important. The one-day cricket we have between now and then is valuable in terms of trying to do that.”
At a personal level, Williamson seemed reasonably happy with where his fitness is, having battled a troublesome elbow injury for over two years. He reiterated his focus and drive to be involved in all three formats at the moment, even though New Zealand have just ended one T20 World Cup cycle.
“The elbow is improving, it certainly took quite a long time, but I’m feeling a lot better now,” he said. “I think as a player, generally certain things in life change and when you get further down the line, you’re always looking to make decisions based on making sure you stay fresh.
“I certainly love playing all formats and the challenges those bring, and at the same time with such a high volume of cricket, there’s a balance to strike. Maybe less in terms of specific formats, more in terms of how you do manage your time to the best of your ability. There’s a lot on and that’s for a lot of players around the world. Need to make sure there’s that freshness and balance.”
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Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo
(With Inputs from ESPN)
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