Sunday, August 1, 2021

ICC: Southee never too old to learn new tricks

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Tim Southee became only the second New Zealander ever to take 600 international wickets and claims it’s because he is always looking to add to his game.

Now 32, Southee followed in the footsteps of Daniel Vettori when he removed India opener Shubman Gill in the evening session of the World Test Championship Final, also adding the scalp of Rohit Sharma before the close of play on day five.

Both wickets came from inswingers, with Southee setting up the batsmen with his standard outswinger before bringing one back to fool them.

And he explained that it is a part of his game that he has been working on in an effort to increase his wicket-taking threat.

He said: “As the game goes on and the wicket starts to deteriorate, you try to bring in the stumps a little bit more. It was nice to see one nip back in first up and then a little bit of a hint of swing back in as well.  

“As a player you are always looking at different ways to expand your game and that’s been one of the ways I’ve looked to develop my game over the last wee while. It’s something I will continue to work on over time and try to keep adding to my game.

“Any time you have milestones like that, it’s nice. If you play for long enough, you tick off a few milestones along the way. It’s a nice achievement, when I started I certainly didn’t think I’d be sitting here after taking 600 so it’s nice but hopefully there’s plenty more to come tomorrow and in the coming years.”

Southee’s wickets left India 64 for two at the close leading by 32 runs heading into Wednesday’s reserve day.

The Black Caps are in the stronger position to force a result, with runs proving hard to come by for both teams.

The first hour could dictate how the teams approach the remainder of the match, with India’s bowlers having done a good job to restrict New Zealand on day five.

Mohammed Shami led the charge, taking four for 76, to bowl the Kiwis out for 249. And Shami admits that India’s hopes will depend on their batsmen making a strong start to proceedings.

He said: “Our bowlers have bowled well in the match so far. We have to bowl as a unit going forward, have to work depending on the resources at our disposal.

“I wanted to keep it tight. The idea was to restrict them, bowl in the right areas. We carried on with the momentum, getting wickets in ones and twos.

“I can’t say how much we can dismiss them for in the fourth innings of the match. We need time and a plan, which we will obviously work out. We will need runs on the board and backup.

“Whenever the team has needed me, I have given my 100 per cent. I always try to attack, go for the wickets. Once the captain guides me on where to bowl, I focus on doing that, trying to maintain the kind of line and length expected from me.

“I never regret missing out on five-wicket hauls or other such achievements. Such thoughts don’t cross our minds. I love playing for my country and that is it.

“In the end it is about your effort and some luck. One has to remain positive whatever the situation.”

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