New Zealand v England: Kane Williamson refuses to dwell on World Cup final defeat

Press Association Sport 08:27 20/11/2019
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New Zealand captain Kane Williamson was not surprised by the abolition of the boundary countback rule that led to England being crowned World Cup winners in July.

An epic Lord’s final was decided in seemingly arbitrary fashion after the teams were tied in a regulation one-day international as well as the super over.

In response, the International Cricket Council last month altered its tiebreak rule in knockout matches, which will now see any super over repeated until one side has more runs.

Williamson said: “It’s not really a surprise. I genuinely think that no one ever thought that was going to happen (a World Cup being decided on boundary countback) and it did.

“At times, you think about how some of those decisions are made – probably sitting in a room and throwing a few ideas around. That’s all I can imagine. For it to actually happen is a pretty scary thing.

“It’s not really cricket and I think both teams appreciated that. I think everyone has played hundreds of games of cricket and never had one decided quite like that.

“It was hard to take. But it is what it is and they were the rules at the time, what you sign up for. But no surprises that (the boundary countback rule) has changed.”

Williamson refuses to dwell on what happened earlier this year ahead of the start of the two-Test series against the same opponents – his first meeting with England since the World Cup final.

He added: “Time has passed and cricket keeps coming thick and fast and you’re focusing on the challenge in hand and the next series. The focus is the here and now and that’s two Tests against England.”

The Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui – 10 minutes from where Williamson was born – is set to host its first ever Test, which gets under way on Thursday.

Williamson said: “There’s a real sense of achievement that a Test is being played here.”

The teams’ latest meeting sees Williamson go up against former Yorkshire team-mate and current England captain Joe Root.

The pair are widely regarded as two of the best batsmen of their era but Williamson remembers a time when he attempted to learn from his counterpart.

Williamson said: “When he was around (at Yorkshire), we would chew the fat, discuss cricket and… ‘How do I become as good as you, Joe?’, try to pick his brains – that was more my angle.”

New Zealand could hand a Test debut to Lockie Ferguson, who has impressed in the limited-overs formats and the World Cup, in particular, where he finished as the second highest wicket-taker.

Comparisons have been made to Jofra Archer, given the pair are capable of regularly exceeding 90mph, but Williamson noted their differences.

He added: “They register at similar paces but they are quite different bowlers.

“Jofra is obviously taller and has a higher release with that extra bouncer. Lockie is skiddier. It’s always different – different actions, can depend on how you pick up the ball. They are both obviously brilliant bowlers.”

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