India vs New Zealand: Tom Latham, ‘mental shift’ shore up Colin Munro’s batting
One of the main reasons why New Zealand have been able to perform well in India is the form of Tom Latham.
The left-handed wicketkeeper-batsman, who usually opens the innings in ODIs, was shifted to No. 5 in order to counter the Indian spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav. Although New Zealand lost the ODI series 1-2, Latham’s emergence was the biggest positive for the Kane Williamson-led side.
Latham ended the series as New Zealand’s highest run-getter and second highest overall, with 206 runs in three games. And Colin Munro feels Latham has set an example on how the visitors’ batsmen should go about their game in the subcontinent.
“Tom Latham has done really well. He’s scored good runs in his new role. He’s really stepped up. With the bat, you can’t bowl to him. Hundred in the first game, fifty in the last ODI and he even got a start in the Pune game,” Munro said.
It seems players like Munro have got a direction from Latham, on how to pace their innings on slow Indian tracks.
Earlier, Munro’s inconsistency while batting in the middle-order came under criticism as more often than not; he lost his wicket while playing a rash shot.
But this time, something different was noticed. Chasing a massive target of 338 in the series decider in Kanpur, Munro scored a well-compiled 75. Not only was it Latham’s influence but also the ‘mental shift’ part he stressed upon.
“The biggest challenge for me was to find a good tempo to bat at. I like to say I want to go out and blast off in the first 10 (overs) but that’s not always going to be the case, especially when you are playing against Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah, two of the best opening bowlers in these conditions. It was kind of hard to start off in the first game. Second game also didn’t go so well,” Munro said.
“Obviously, then I had a chat with the senior players in the team and they said go out and take it as a T20 game and see how it goes. Luckily for me, it came off (in Kanpur).
“Sometimes at the top of the order, you’re going to get a good ball. And sometimes with myself, even just throw my wicket away because of the nature of cricket I play. For me, it’s more of a mental shift in terms if thriving with the bat,” he added.
The move to have him at the top and Latham in the middle has worked well for the Kiwis so far. Latham, who’s an equally good player of pace and spin, has performed beyond expectations. While Munro, who’s a bit tentative against spin and more comfortable against pace bowling, showed in Kanpur that he can be a long term option at the top for the Kiwis.
Meanwhile, Munro sounded confident about his team’ chances of continuing its domination over India in T20s, against whom they’ve a flawless record (5-0).
“It’s nice to a have a three-match series. Usually, it’s one-off or two games. Plenty to play for. We’ve got a good record against India. We’ll look to build on it. Hopefully, we can get off to a good start,” he concluded.