New Zealand were dealt a body blow in their preparations for the World T20 with the shock retirement of the talismanic Brendon McCullum, but if there’s one thing that the Black Caps have exhibited throughout their history, it’s the fact they rely more on their collective spirit rather than mere individuals. There’s no reason to think otherwise, this time, around as well.
There is no doubting that New Zealand will miss the fearless batting and dynamic leadership of McCullum, but there are quite a few others who can step up and look to fill the big void left by Baz. In Kane Williamson, they have one of the most outstanding batsmen of the generation and the Kiwis will be hoping that the added responsibility of captaincy does not weigh him down.
Martin Guptill, who surprisingly went unsold at the IPL auctions in February, will look to provide the early impetus with the bat, with explosive batsmen further down the line in the likes of Ross Taylor, Colin Munro and Corey Anderson. Wicketkeeper-batsman Luke Ronchi is also capable of producing match-winning innings on his day and can provide the late fireworks for New Zealand.
All-rounders are a prominent feature in any New Zealand squad and its no different this time either with the likes of Anderson, Munro and Elliot leading the pack followed by Tim Southee who is also capable of chipping in with the bat when required. The fast bowling line-up of Trent Boult, Southee, Mitchell McClenaghan and Adam Milne is quite possibly the best among all teams, though how effective they will be on the slow, turning pitches in India is a matter for thought.
The very same fact has prompted the selectors to go into the tournament with a three-pronged spin attack consisting of off-spinner Nathan McCullum, leg-spinner Ish Sodhi and left-arm orthodox all-rounder Mitchell Santner. Their lack of experience is a concern though with fears that the opposition batsmen might target them for easy runs.
Being paired alongside Trans-Tasmanian rivals Australia as well as Asian heavyweights India and Pakistan, New Zealand definitely has their backs against the wall, but fans back home will be hoping that the indomitable spirit once again pulls them through tough situations as has been the case so often in the past.
New Zealand Squad:
Kane Williamson (c), Corey Anderson, Trent Boult, Grant Elliott, Martin Guptill, Mitchell McClenaghan, Nathan McCullum, Adam Milne, Colin Munro, Henry Nicholls, Luke Ronchi (wk), Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor