Black Caps coach previews opening Twenty20 against the West Indies

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Fri, 27 Nov 2020, 11:47AM
Photo / PhotoSport
Photo / PhotoSport

Black Caps coach previews opening Twenty20 against the West Indies

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Fri, 27 Nov 2020, 11:47AM

With his team already facing injury issues, Black Caps coach Gary Stead is hoping this is the worst he sees of the condensed cricketing schedule.

New Zealand will open their international Twenty20 series on Friday against the West Indies at Eden Park, which will be their first international match since March 13.

Friday's clash marks the start of a gruelling four matches in eight days for the two teams – three T20Is and the opening day of the first test in Hamilton.

The Black Caps are already without a key player for that test, with all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme ruled out of the test series due to bone bruising in his right foot, and being replaced by Daryl Mitchell.

Spinner Ajaz Patel is also out of the first test due to a calf tear, with Mitchell Santner drafted into the squad as spin cover.

Stead says it's an unknown challenge that beckons, which could become coming more difficult when juggling test, 50-over and 20-over squads.

"This year - three internationals in four days is different. We haven't had that," he says.

"In terms of selection, it's about as complex as I think I've ever seen it, and hopefully will ever see it, so there's plenty of moving parts."

The Black Caps have plenty of pressure on their shoulders to perform in the 20-over game, having failed to win in their last seven matches, all of which were hosted on Kiwi soil.

They will also have a new captain for the final game of the series, with Santner confirmed to become the eighth Black Caps T20 captain when he takes over from Tim Southee – who leaves the series early to prepare for the first test - for the third and final match of the series at Bay Oval on Monday.

The schedule will be a major wake-up call to the players, who haven't played an international since a one-day international against Australia over eight months ago. That was supposed to be the first of a three-match series before the coronavirus outbreak cut short the Black Caps' trip.

Since, players have served in the Caribbean and India Premier Leagues, as well as domestic cricket.

While those competitions also had to deal with the effects of Covid-19, neither have featured schedules as condensed as a game every two days on average.

"It's just something that we have to adapt to. A little injury has a flow-on effect right throughout the whole camp as well and the systems that are in place," Stead adds.

But the coach can see the silver linings.

"It's also exciting that guys are getting exposure at international level, we're finding out about them and ultimately every series we play is a lead-up to a World Cup, where our key focus is."

The team will have a five day break between the first and second tests, but will launch into their T20 series with Pakistan on December 18 – just three days after the conclusion of the West Indies' tour.