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Not all teams can adapt England’s T20 template: Kane Williamson | Cricket

There has never been more pressure on players of all sizes to keep their place and prove their worth in the T20 squads as there is now following England’s World Cup success.

No team could match the team of Jos Buttler who played with unrelenting aggression. Like India, New Zealand were also on the receiving end – beating England convincingly in a group stage match – against the world champions’ planned attack, in terms of tactics and execution.

New Zealand’s game template, like India’s, was more old-fashioned. They could never repeat the blistering start Finn Allen gave them in the victory over Australia with Glen Phillips the only other batsman to face the bowlers.

Will more teams now strive to play the English way?

New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson thinks not. “You saw so many strong T20 teams in the tournament and some setbacks. The England team is a very strong team and plays a very strong type of cricket, which is very aggressive. It fits the balance on their part,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

“You see the game evolving all the time, but you also see it going in circles where it goes one way and comes back in the other. At the end of the day, it’s just about trying to understand (roughly) what the best recipe is for your team with the resources you have.”

Williamson’s spot himself would have been reconsidered had New Zealand Cricket (NZC) decided to make a drastic overhaul. His success rate languished under run-a-ball until the match in Ireland where he found some form. He still finished with a poor 116.33 strike rate for the tournament.

By not taking the all-out aggressive route, Williamson pointed to the same problem as India’s, a lack of depth in the batting. All-rounder James Neesham batted at No. 7, followed by a long tail. English batsmen could put less of a premium on keeping wickets, not only because of their striking power, but also because of their depth of stroke where Adil Rashid was the number 11.

England is also a team whose T20 team is very different from their ODI side, not just the Test team. “It’s a nice balance to find. Some countries with a larger playing pool are more likely to do so and other parties have different challenges,” says Williamson.

The Kiwi skipper also suggested he wasn’t thinking about giving up playing any format.

NZC may not have deep pockets, but BCCI does. India’s underperformance at the World Cup, prolonging their failures at ICC events, has sparked discussions about a different approach. Former India opener and main selector K Srikkanth has pushed for all-rounder Hardik Pandya to become the T20 captain on a permanent basis.

All eyes will be on India’s brave-looking T20 team under Pandya in the upcoming New Zealand white-ball series starting Friday. “Hardik is a superstar of the game, one of the most sought after game winners. As for (future) leadership within India, I don’t know. They have some experienced players and I am sure Rohit and Virat’s guidance will help them a lot.”

Absent from India’s World Cup squad in the New Zealand series include skipper Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, R Ashwin, Dinesh Karthik, Mohammed Shami and Axar Patel. Jammu express pacer Umran Malik, who was left out for the big event, returns.

“Umran is a super exciting talent. I spent time with him on IPL; to see his raw pace, he is a real asset. To see him in international cricket is a great rise,” said Williamson, who managed Umran at Sunrisers Hyderabad.

“I am sure they have high hopes for him to stay with the Indian team for a long period of time. The more he plays, it will definitely help his journey… fantastic talent.


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