In a thorough professional world, mediocrity has lost enough ground to be dubbed incompetent and worthless.
In cricketing circles, however, New Zealand are perhaps the only team that have reveled in excelling with individuals who believed more on spirit than on skills.
In the early ’90s, New Zealand invariably punched above their weights courtesy of some brave performances by the likes Gavin Larsen, Deepak Patel, and Mark Greatbatch. In the said context, it’s only fair and legitimate to eulogize the motivating force behind New Zealand’s growth, Stephen Fleming.
His steely batting and steadfast captaincy accelerated New Zealand’s stature as a team which didn’t believe in giving up on the cricket field.
The greatest testimony to Blackcaps’ success is the fact that their team lacked the presence of cosmic stars like a Sachin, Lara or Ricky Ponting. Yet, the glittery stardom was replaced by a well-balanced side guided by the will to succeed.
It’s a well-known fact that the current ODI side has been in tremendous form and has managed to get past opponents like Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh with relative ease.
The positive outcomes may have come against sides that are not exactly known for excelling in foreign conditions but Kane Williamson has enough reasons to feel confident ahead of the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup.
His own transparent batting style makes him a class operator in all formats and in diverse conditions. The emergence of Colin Munro as a destructive opener is a throwback to the times when Brendon Mccullum displayed brute force en route winning matches for a unit he made stoic by leading by example. His recent form would do with some consistency but it has to be said, the baseball-style hitting can, on its own, take the pressure off someone like a Martin Guptill in the shorter formats.
The consistency in performances shown by Tom Latham, responsible for 2018’s most memorable individual score of 264, and the continuous rise of Colin de Grandhome, provides the side a cushion on which bumpy journeys can end well. Isn’t it?
To doubt the redoubtable Trent Boult, perhaps not the best idea ever only indicates one to the strength that New Zealand have among their ranks. Boult and Southee firing in tandem can often be a daunting site for New Zealand’s opponents.
One wonders whether anyone would be willing to take them lightly in the approaching world cup?
The ODI series loss to India may not sound a warning bell. But still, it has given New Zealand a chance to rectify some of the chinks in their armor before the onset of the marquee tournament to be played in England and Wales. One of the areas that New Zealand needs to work on is their ability to handle quality spin bowling. And with Kane Williamson around, New Zealand seems to be well capable of dealing with this facet.
With the Windies striking form at the right juncture, Sri Lanka buoyant with the victory in South Africa and New Zealand all set to take on the world with renewed confidence, the World Cup could present one heck of a battle for supremacy.
Will New Zealand win over their spin woes and manage to win the World Cup?
There’s no reason they cannot.