Ahmedabad, Oct 4 (IANS): New Zealand’s stand-in-skipper Tom Latham confirmed that veteran fast-bowler Tim Southee will be unavailable for the side’s tournament opener against England at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Thursday, citing his ongoing recovery from thumb injury.
Southee had dislocated and fractured his right thumb while taking a catch during an ODI match against current Cup holders England on September 15. He now has a plate and some screws inserted in the thumb to boost his recovery in a bid to take part in New Zealand’s campaign at some point, thus missing out on opening game.
Apart from him, regular captain Kane Williamson was ruled out previously from the first match of 2023 Men’s ODI World Cup against defending champions England due to him building up loads to be match-fit in recovery from an ACL rupture in right knee in March this year.Williamson had played in the side's first warm-up as only a batter and then fielded in the second warm-up game.
“No Kane and no Tim as well. He's (Southee) unavailable for selection just in terms of what happened to his thumb a couple of weeks ago, but he's recovering nicely. He's nearly two weeks post-surgery so fingers crossed he can keep recovering. It's a bit of a day-by-day process with him in terms of what that looks like too. But fingers crossed he'll be available sooner rather than later as well,” said Latham in the pre-match press conference.
New Zealand, who have been runners-up in last two editions of the competition, come into the tournament as the underdogs, something which has defined them every time they enter a global event. But Latham said the team is not thinking of any tags for themselves and are focused on excelling in the league stage to reach back-end of the competition.
“From our point of view, I'm sure like most teams, we're not necessarily focused on what people are predicting. From our point of view we're solely focused on what we have to do. The brand of cricket that we want to play at this World Cup is our main focus and when it comes towards the end of the tournament, if we're in those positions then that's great.”
“But if we can play our brand of cricket in these conditions, which is obviously completely different to the last two ODI World Cups being in Australia and England, so we just want to come here and play some good cricket, play our brand of cricket, and if we do that, then we know we'll give ourselves a good chance of being there in the back end of the tournament.”
Latham also cited that adaptability will be a key factor for the Blackcaps while playing the World Cup in India. “So, we'll have to wait and see what conditions are going to be like. I'm sure throughout the tournament that they will change. They might change from the day time to evening time. It's just about trying to be adaptable to conditions and also adaptable to each team that we come up against.”
“For us it's about trying to play our brand of cricket as best we can. We've got a mix of experience and a mix of youth. We've got some guys playing in their fourth World Cup, some guys playing in their first. So, for us it's about trying to play our brand of cricket as best we can and if we can do that then hopefully give ourselves a good chance at the back end of the tournament.”