'We had to change XI thrice': New Zealand coach Gary Stead slams ICC for not allowing Adam Milne to play vs Pakistan

Updated on Oct 28, 2021 11:27 AM IST

Stead said the New Zealand management tried their best to get approval for Milne as he would have been a like-for-like replacement for fast bowler Ferguson but they were informed barely 90 minutes before the start of the Pakistan match that the request has been denied by ICC.

New Zealand's head coach Gary Stead(REUTERS)
New Zealand's head coach Gary Stead(REUTERS)

‘Disappointed’ New Zealand head coach Gary Stead questioned ICC for not allowing Adam Milne as a replacement to the inured Lockie Ferguson before their T20 World Cup 2021 opener against Pakistan. New Zealand ended up losing that match by five wickets. Stead said the New Zealand management tried their best to get approval for Milne as he would have been a like-for-like replacement for fast bowler Ferguson but they were informed barely 90 minutes before the start of the Pakistan match that the request has been denied by ICC's technical committee. 

“We tried pretty hard to get across the line with the ICC our replacement player, but it wasn't to be. That was really disappointing for us because Adam Milne is someone waiting in the wings as a like-for-like replacement,” Stead said after the match. 

Ferguson was ruled out of this World Cup with a grade two tear on his right calf and New Zealand wanted Milne to replace him in the 15-member squad.

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“What we were told is they don't give clearance on the same day, so we'll question that reason and continue to seek clarification on that,” Stead added. 

The Blackcaps coach said they were not supposed to play leg-spinner Ish Sodhi but had to change their team thrice because of the Milne confusion. 

"You always plan to have the changes like this, the most unsettling thing for us is we probably changed the team three times today on that decision. Originally we thought we'd got the clearance for Adam to play, but then it's been turned down. So we were questioning it with the ICC as much as an hour and a half out from the game and arriving there.

“We weren't going to play Ish Sodhi – we felt that pitch was one that would suit the seamers a lot more and the up-and-down nature of the pitch and the work we'd done around scouting and what the data was telling us was that it pointed towards seam bowlers and pace bowlers being more effective. That's the way we would have gone,” he added. 

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Asked whether Milne's presence would have made a difference to the outcome of the match against Pakistan, Stead gave the example of Haris Rauf's performance. He picked up four wickets and was one of the main reasons why New Zealand could not post a big total batting first. 

“You can't say you know for sure if it would have made a difference in the game, but for us, on that wicket, pace bowling and hitting the pitch as hard as what Adam does or Lockie does would have been a difference, we think. I think Haris Rauf showed for Pakistan the difference that it can make,” Stead explained. 

Much to New Zealand's frustration, Milne was allowed as Ferguson's replacement within an hour after the Pakistan match. 

Stead, however, gave indication that Milne, who is known for his raw pace, is likely to feature against India on October 31. 

"When you look at how we structure our side, we always try to have that pace dominance where we can, and we certainly lacked that."

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