Not all teams can adapt England's T20 template: Kane Williamson

Updated on Nov 16, 2022 12:45 PM IST

The New Zealand skipper says planning by teams will depend on the talent pool they have amid questions about emulating the new World Cup winners.

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson, left, talks to bowler Tim Southee(AP)
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson, left, talks to bowler Tim Southee(AP)
By, Mumbai

There has never been greater pressure on all-format players to hold their places, prove their worth in T20 squads as is the case now after England’s success at the World Cup.

No team could match Jos Buttler’s side that played with unrelenting aggression. Like India, New Zealand too were at the receiving end--England beat them convincingly in a group match--against the world champions’ planned onslaught, in terms of tactics and execution.

New Zealand’s playing template, like India’s, was more old-fashioned. They could never repeat the blistering start Finn Allen provided them in the win over Australia with Glen Phillips the only other batter who took on the bowlers.

Will more teams now aspire to play the English way?

New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson doesn’t think so. “You saw so many strong T20 sides in the tournament and a number of upsets. The English team is a very strong side and are playing a very strong brand of cricket, which is very aggressive. It suits the balance of their side,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

“You do see the game evolving all the time, but you also see it going in circles where it goes in one direction and comes back to another. At the end of it, it’s just (about) trying to understand what’s the best recipe for your team with the resources you have.”

Williamson’s place itself would have been reconsidered had New Zealand Cricket (NZC) decided to go in for a drastic overhaul. His strike rate was languishing below run-a-ball until the Ireland match where he found some form. He still finished with a poor strike rate of 116.33 for the tournament.

On not taking the all-out aggressive route, Williamson was pointing to the same problem as India’s, a lack of depth in batting. All-rounder James Neesham batted at No 7, followed by a long tail. England batters could place less premium on preserving wickets, not just due to their power-hitting ability but also because of their batting depth where Adil Rashid was the No 11.

England is also one team whose T20 squad is sharply different from their ODI side, not just the Test team. “It’s a fine balance to strike. Some nations with a larger playing pool have more of an opportunity to do that and other sides have other challenges,” said Williamson.

The Kiwi skipper also suggested he was not thinking of giving up playing any format.

NZC may not have deep pockets but BCCI does. India’s sub-par performance in the World Cup that extended their failures at ICC events has sparked debates for a change in approach. Former India opener and chief selector K Srikkanth has urged that all-rounder Hardik Pandya should be permanently made the T20 captain.

All eyes will be on India’s brave-looking T20 team under Pandya in the upcoming white-ball series in New Zealand starting Friday. “Hardik is a superstar of the game one of the most sought-after match-winners. In terms of (future) leadership within India, I don’t know. They have a number of experienced players and I am sure Rohit and Virat’s guidance will be very helpful for them.”

Amongst absentees from India’s World Cup squad in the New Zealand series are skipper Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, R Ashwin, Dinesh Karthik, Mohammed Shami and Axar Patel. Jammu express pacer Umran Malik, who was left out for the big event, returns.

“Umran is a super exciting talent. I spent time with him at IPL; to see his raw pace, he's a real asset. To see him in international cricket is an amazing rise,” said Williamson, who led Umran in Sunrisers Hyderabad.

“I am sure they have high hopes of him being with the Indian team for a long period. The more he plays, it will certainly help his journey…fantastic talent.”

(Cricket enthusiasts in India can watch the India tour of New Zealand series on Prime Video starting from November 18, 2022. Precoverage starts from 11 am onwards for T20 and 6 am onwards for ODI)

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    Rasesh Mandani loves a straight drive. He has been covering cricket, the governance and business side of sport for close to two decades. He writes and video blogs for HT.

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