Ahead of his team's World Cup opener against defending champions England on Thursday at Ahmedabad, New Zealand stand-in skipper Tom Latham expressed happiness with regular skipper Kane Williamson's batting, saying that he performed like he never left and is moving really well, playing all the shots he used to play.
In the first warm-up matches against Pakistan and South Africa, Williamson only played as a batter against Pakistan and batted and fielded against Proteas. But Kane will miss the opening match of the tournament against England, which is a repeat of the 2019 World Cup final, which New Zealand lost on the basis of boundary count as the match and super over both ended in a tie.
Williamson has not recovered fully from his injury and used warm-up games to test his fitness.
"It is obviously great to see Kane back, to see him batting. It is like he had never left to be honest, in terms of with the bat. It is great to see him moving really well. He is playing all the shots that he used to play, which is great, and to see him back in the field is another stepping stone in terms of where he needs to get to in terms of his recovery. It is a day-by-day process with him making sure that whenever he is available that he has ticked everything off all that he needs to do," Latham said, according to ESPNCricinfo.
Latham also said that pace spearhead Tim Southee is recovering from his injured thumb well.
"He is tracking along really well. He is nearly two weeks post-surgery. So for him, it is a day-by-day process as well in terms of making sure that he is in the right frame in terms of bowling and fielding. I am sure once he gets back into his skill, he will be willing to go if that opportunity comes," said the skipper.
New Zealand is one of the most well-prepared teams for world tournaments and has stayed really consistent over the years. They made it to the finals in 2015 and 2019.
On adapting to the conditions, Latham said that the goal is to be there till the end of the tournament and the team takes pride in its adaptability.
"Obviously, the end goal is to be there at the end [of the tournament], which I am sure every team has. But I think something we pride ourselves on as a group is being able to adapt as best we can. We are lucky that we have guys who have played plenty of cricket in these parts of the world, whether it be against India or in the IPL," said Latham.
"We have got that mix of experience where we are able to lean on guys around. [Some] guys have played at this ground, some guys have not. So adapting is a really important part of playing over in these conditions that can change throughout the game. It is being able to think on our feet a little bit and make sure we stay ahead of the game," he added.
The build-up for the tournament has not been great for the Kiwis, having lost Williamson and Southee to injuries from which they have not recovered fully. The band has not got together properly. It hasn't put them in a contemplative mood about how some of them might be coming towards the end of their golden World Cup run.
"I am sure guys don't want to jump the gun. Everyone is in a slightly different situation in terms of what the future may look like. But for us, we are trying to enjoy the next sort of couple of months together as a group, and have it however that pans out. Hopefully for the good. We are just trying to enjoy each other's company over the next period of time at such a special occasion playing cricket over here in India. Embrace what comes with being over here, I am sure guys will make decisions around what that may look like for them in the future," Latham said.
-New Zealand squad: Kane Williamson (c), Trent Boult, Mark Chapman, Devon Conway, Lockie Ferguson, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Jimmy Neesham, Glenn Phillips, Rachin Ravindra, Mitch Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Will Young. (ANI)