Former New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum had praised the Black Caps for the character they displayed after losing the 2019 ICC World Cup final to England on boundary count.
McCullum, who himself had faced heartbreak in the final with New Zealand in the 2015 edition, believes the poise with which Kane Williamson’s men handled the Lord’s defeat is commendable.
“Yes, it would’ve been lovely to have been a World Cup champion, but I’ve always said the game doesn’t define you but it’s the person and character you are,” McCullum told stuff.co.nz.
“I was so pleased with how our team handled that loss, also the success throughout that tournament.
“It’s a bit different but I thought they’ve handled themselves magnificently in the aftermath of that result (final).”
The 2019 World Cup final at Lord’s was one for the ages with the clash going down to the Super Over for the first time in the tournament’s history. The madness continued in the ensuing Super Over which also finished in a tie but it was the Kiwis who ended up on the losing side due to their inferior boundary count compared to England.
While many have questioned the decision to decide a World Cup trophy based on the two teams’ boundary count, McCullum believes the Kiwis will learn to live with the defeat with time.
“That’s the thing and it’s going to be so difficult for those guys,” said McCullum.
“I was lucky enough to be with them in the changing room and they were pretty broken, that’s for sure. They were also really proud of what they did and how well they played.
“Over the coming months and years, whilst it’s still raw now, they’ll understand just how magnificent that spectacle was. And for it to happen on the biggest of stages, to have played the hand that they played in that match is absolutely amazing.”
Afghanistan skipper Rashid Khan has set his sights on making a mark in the 2020 T20I World Cup in Australia following his side’s dismal showing in the recently concluded 50-over World Cup in England.
Making their second appearance in the ODI World Cup, Afghanistan fell to defeats in all nine games to finish bottom of the 10-team table in England.
Having been recently appointed as the Afghanistan skipper across all three formats, Rashid is targeting some big improvements from his side in the 2020 T20 World Cup.
“I think the 2023 World Cup is a little bit far right now,” Rashid was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo on the sidelines of the Euro T20 Slam draft in London.
“Right now, our key focus and target is the 2020 T20 World Cup in Australia. We will show how improved we are, we will show what we can do. We will have the best side and combination.
“We just need to keep improving day by day and keep bringing down the mistakes which we have made in the past. We have the skills, the ability and we have the best team for T20 especially.”
Afghanistan’s rise in international cricket has been nothing short of meteoric but the star leg-spinner feels his men now need to close down the gap on the top international sides.
“That is something that is a very big challenge for us. As I said before, we have the skills and the talent but we need to improve it.” Rashid stated.
“We need to know how to play the big teams and what should be the proper preparation to take them now. As you could see in the World Cup, we struggled against the big teams.”
The 20-year-old feels Afghanistan need to play as much bilateral cricket against the top international sides over the next four years if they are to make a significant improvement in the 2023 ICC World Cup.
“Having the 2023 World Cup in the mind from here on, we should have proper preparation for the 50 overs,” he said.
“The more we play against the big teams, especially the top 10 teams, the better we will be.
“Looking forward to have more games and series with the big teams. That is the only way you can improve your cricket.”
On Friday, the Afghan star was picked as the icon player for Rotterdam Rhinos for the inaugural Euro T20 Slam in the draft held at London. The six-team competition set in Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands gets underway on August 30 and will run till September 22.
Eoin Morgan, Shahid Afridi, Shane Watson, Mohammad Amir and Fakhar Zaman are some of the other stars who will be on show in the maiden edition of the T20 league.
Zimbabwe sports minister Kirsty Coventry on Friday stated the government has not been interfering in the running of the country’s cricket.
Former Olympic swimming champion Coventry said in a tweet that she was “devastated” by the decision by the International Cricket Council to suspend Zimbabwe Cricket over ‘political interference’ in its administration.
ICC’s decision came after Zimbabwe Cricket’s suspension by the country’s Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) in June, which was seen as government interference.
The ICC said the elected board must be reinstated within three months.
Coventry said in her tweet that although the SRC was appointed by the sports minister: “SRC is not government – they are a public body.”
In another tweet, she stated: “There is need for good governance at ZC for the international success we all want to see.”
Coventry said she will meet the country’s men’s and women’s captains over the weekend.