There’s a common theme to the BLACKCAPS approach to the upcoming tour of England; it’s a chance to complete some unfinished business.
For the past few weeks, the players, coaches and fans alike have had to recover from a truly heart-breaking draw at Eden Park. Few will need reminding of the single wicket which came between the BLACKAPS and a historic series victory over England.
In the BLACKCAPS minds, there is only one way to fix it – conquer the English on their own soil instead. Everybody knows the quality this England outfit possess and to overcome them will be no small task, but this BLACKCAPS side has already shown that they can compete and are heading in the right direction.
While home advantage certainly counts for something, the incentive of playing at prestigious grounds likes Lords and Headingley should provide plenty of motivation for the visitors. Top-order batsman Kane Williamson admitted the team are itching to get out there.
“I’m really looking forward to this series, along with all the other boys,” said Williamson.
“Although the challenge over here will be far greater, I think it just provides a greater opportunity and one that we know that if we play our best cricket we can stand up to.”
While there’s plenty of excitement about what lies ahead of them, the team are cautious about getting ahead of themselves, and are focusing on getting their preparation right.
Their first hurdle will be a three-day warm-up game against County side Derbyshire beginning Saturday night (NZ time). Despite Brendon McCullum’s early arrival from the IPL, Williamson will captain the side and acknowledges how important the match is.
“Our goal for every match and every time we step on a park is to improve. Although this is preparation for the Test matches, I think it’s important we still play our style of cricket that we want to be playing and look to keep trying to improve that.”
“I keep a tab on the County stuff. Derby are a good outfit. They got promoted last year from Division One and no doubt they’ll provide some good competition.”
While few people remember the results from warm-up matches, the significance of the role they can have on the overall tour is not lost on the BLACKCAPS. It’s a crucial building block towards achieving the team’s lofty ambitions.
With a young strike bowling attack, vastly improved top-order and a reinvigorated Brendon McCullum at number six , underdogs or not, there’s room for a little bit of optimism for the team and their fans.
Time to put things right.