Interview of Cricket Fans – 167 – NEW ZEALAND

@IRONIK

Thank you for your participation in this interview, firstly tell us your earliest memory concerning Cricket and how long have you been following this sport.

Cricket was always a major part of my life while growing up and I have been following it ever since I was a little child, my father was a great player in his days and was almost on the verge of making it into the Uttar Pradesh Ranji team but suffered a career-ending injury. Therefore, I was constantly surrounded by cricket-loving people while growing up. 

Although one of my earliest and most vivid cricket memory is South Africa vs Australia at Johannesburg in 2006 when South Africa chased 438 to win the game and since then Herschelle Gibbs was my favourite player till his retirement.

After his retirement, Brendon McCullum became my favourite player and I started supporting Blackcaps after Baz was made the captain, I loved his aggressive brand of cricket and have been supporting them ever since. Multiple final heartbreaks, was even abused and threatened in the stadium by Indian fans but nothing stopped me from supporting this beautiful team.

It was a long wait for an ICC event victory, and the way New Zealand played especially post 2015 World Cup was outstanding to watch, how does it feel to be finally crowned as the World Champions?

NZ cricket was transformed ever since Baz led the mantle in 2013, and the cricket they played pre-2015 was so so good that it even inspired 2019 WC winning captain Eoin Morgan.

But yeah, in the words of Baz himself, “ I was able to add an element of aggression and confidence, but I was never going to add that level of consistency. Under Kane’s captaincy, they have been able to do that” The Blackcaps became more consistent under the leadership of Kane.

We were one of the most consistent teams since 2016 but had nothing to show for it except that disappointing 2019 final loss, so being crowned the very first World Test Champions felt very very good because the players and the team deserved this for their exceptional performance throughout these years.

Everyone stepped up at some stage during the whole course of the tournament, be it Tom Latham on top of the order, Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor in the middle, or the pace bowlers doing their bit with the ball, how would you like to sum up their whole journey?

Yes, as you said literally every player stepped up when it mattered. Latham at top of the order was consistent throughout the tournament, Conway scored a half-century in the first innings of the final, Kane was easily our best Batsman throughout the tournament and also reached Number 1 in Test Batsman Rankings, Taylor showed his class throughout the Tournament, Nicholls became Mr Consistent and was also in Top 5 Test batsman rankings. Watling was exceptional behind the wicket and did his job of scoring vital runs down the order. CDG/Mitchell whoever played performed their role as an Allrounder. Then our pace quartet was the best. Jamieson, Southee, Boult, Wagner, it literally couldn’t get better than this. Santner was vital against Pakistan picking that last wicket with only 4 overs remaining. Ajaz performed exceptionally in UAE.

So you can say, it was a total team performance and every member of our squad contributed to winning the first-ever World Test Championship.

Who impressed you the most among the pace bowlers and why is it Kyle Jamieson?

He literally came out of nowhere and performed against India and helped us whitewash them 2-0 and has been performing for us consistently ever since, even winning the ‘Man Of The Match’ in the Final. He already has close to 50 wickets in just 8 test matches at an average of just 14.2. What’s more impressive is he is equally good with the bat as well, constantly scoring important runs for us down the order. He has an average of 42 with the bat, for a Number 8 batsman it can’t get better than that.

Also special mention to Tim Southee, he doesn’t get enough recognition but has been so vital for New Zealand cricket.

That Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson partnership in the second innings was so crucial, was there a bit of nervousness as a fan when those two wickets fell?

Not gonna lie, I feared a collapse. After the 2019 WC Final Debacle, you can’t expect a Blackcaps fan to remain optimistic in such situations. On top of that, Umpire wrongly gave Williamson out and at that moment I thought it’s going to end in another final heartbreak. Happy that Kane used the DRS and overturned the decision. It was a tense few overs when both the batsmen were trying to settle in and Indian bowlers weren’t giving any free runs. Some luck went into our favour too like when Pujara dropped Taylor. But once they managed to settle in, it was an easy and quick finish.

It was also BJ Watling’s final test for NZ, few words on the wicketkeeper who has scored those ‘tough runs’ as some would say?

Watling was one of the most important members of this team during the whole transformation. When Williamson was asked who would he pick to bat for his life, he picked Watling. Shows how highly rated he was within this group and how much Williamson trusted him.

He has the most 200+ Partnership for a wicketkeeper-batsman, also has scored all his century in either a win or draw, shows how important his runs were for the team.

He was also a great wicketkeeper, holds almost all the wicketkeeping records for the Blackcaps and would be a major miss for the team. But I am happy that he ended his career on a high.

While there are those who have appreciated the maiden ICC victory for New Zealand, there are also some who have questioned their inclusion in the finals of this tournament, your thoughts?

I don’t care what those people think and neither does ICC, nor the Blackcaps team. People complain that New Zealand made it to the final by winning all the games in their home condition, but if only Australia or England would have been able to do the same they would have played instead of New Zealand.

If any Indian fan is complaining, they could have just defeated us at our home as they did with Australia instead of getting whitewashed.

New Zealand deserved to win the WTC and anyone complaining against the same is just a sore loser.


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Twitter – @bhavsarJ2_0
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