‘Winning away from home is becoming hard’: Williamson and Southee list one major area of concern for New Zealand cricket
Ahead of their two-match Test series against Bangladesh on home soil, New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson and veteran pacer Tim Southee spoke about a successful 2021 for the side and the challenges they must address in the future.
The New Zealand cricket team had a stellar 2021. In June, they beat India in the final to lift the inaugural World Test Championship (WTC) trophy, and a few months later in November, in the UAE, they reached the semifinals of the T20 World Cup. Moreover, they climbed to the top spot in World Test rankings (currently second) and continue to sit pretty atop the ODI rankings. Despite a successful calendar year, they lacked in a certain aspect of the sport and for skipper Kane Williamson and veteran Tim Southee, that's something the team needs to work on.
That one area of the game that the Black Caps need to work on, by their own admission, is winning away from home. The Kiwis played 4 Tests at home during the calendar and won every single one of them. On the other hand, they only managed to win 2 of the 5 matches they played away from home. Most recently, they were handed a 1-0 defeat by India in their two-match Test series.
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The story is a lot similar in white-ball cricket. They hosted four T20I series during the year, winning 10 out of those 14 matches. Furthermore, they participated in two bilateral series on the tour, against Bangladesh and India, and faced defeats on both occasions. While Bangladesh beat them 3-2, India registered a whitewash in the three-match series.
And finally in ODIs, due to the cancellation of two away series against Australia and Pakistan, the Black Caps could only play one series in Bangladesh; which they clinched 3-0.
While responding to a question posed by the Hindustan Times, right-arm pacer Southee while taking pride in New Zealand's fabulous show in ICC tournaments this year, elaborated on where the team is still lacking.
“As a side, we are continuing to look to get better and grow as a team. I think performing overseas is one thing. In international cricket now, winning away from home is becoming so hard, especially in Test cricket. As a side, that's an area we hopefully can improve on. We've had a little bit of success overseas over the years but that's somewhere we would like to improve,” said Southee while speaking to select media during an event organised by Amazon Prime Video.
Skipper Kane, on the other hand, shared his opinion on the year that was for NZ cricket, the challenges that come with a heavy schedule, and the task at hand.
"I suppose with Covid, there's been a lot of major cricket in one year. The World Test Championship and then the T20 World Cup. As soon as something finishes, another thing starts. That's the focus when you're directly involved in the sport. There's another T20 World Cup (in 2022) that's not too far away. There seems to be a lot of cricket (coming up). As a side, over the periods of time, we've had players come and go and we always try to navigate those challenges each time and move in the right direction. Throughout this year, as a group, we saw a lot of good signs and saw a lot of good days and a lot of tough ones as well; where we saw them as the best opportunity to learn. It's great that in some major events, we could go out there and play some really good cricket. But we know that the challenges that lie here and preparing for," concluded Williamson.
New Zealand's next assignment is at home against Bangladesh. The tour, consisting of two Tests, begins on January 1. The fans will be able to watch the live streaming on Amazon Prime Video, courtesy of their new partnership and foray into the digital world.