Wednesday, May 29, 2024

ICC: Williamson – We must focus on ourselves not Pakistan

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Photo Credit: ICC

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson insisted his side must remain focused on themselves as they begin their Super 12s campaign against an in-form Pakistan.

Williamson’s men are yet to get underway in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 and watched on as Pakistan strolled to a 10-wicket victory over India in their opening clash.

Shaheen Afridi’s devastating opening spell, accounting for India’s openers, set the platform before Pakistani skipper Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan smashed half-centuries to steer their side home without loss.

“For us, it’s about focusing on the style of cricket that we want to play, which is important to us as a team,” said Williamson.

“But we know we’re coming up against a very strong team in Pakistan, and I think every opposition that you play against, you prepare as well as you can to take them on at their best.

“We saw the best out of Pakistan in their last match against India, which was a fantastic performance.

“I think Pakistan have come to the T20 World Cup full of confidence, having played in these conditions more than most. They certainly put it on show and showed why they’re one of the favourites in the competition.

“Tomorrow I’m sure they’ll be very strong again, so for us, it’s focusing on the cricket that we want to play and trying to adjust to conditions.”

Williamson captained New Zealand to glory in the ICC Test Championship final in June and is hoping to add another ICC trophy to his collection in the shortest format.

And the skipper revealed that his troublesome elbow injury is showing signs of progress.

“Yeah, I mean, naturally different formats, but a great moment for cricket in our country and one that we truly cherished, and as we know with the schedule and the international format, it’s sort of always something else coming up,” added Williamson.

“We really enjoyed that moment, but also the focus changes and things are different with the different formats and a different side largely, as well.

“I believe everybody currently is fit or fit enough. My elbow is improving. It’s just been an ongoing sort of challenge to deal with it regarding loading and these sorts of things.

“It’s just a work in progress. But I think all in all, it’s showing improvement, which is good.”

Pakistan’s bowling consultant Vernon Philander reflected on a fantastic victory against India but insisted his side must remain grounded after just one game.

He said: “Yesterday was obviously a brilliant performance by the team. I think it also comes on the back of some hard work the last two and a half weeks. So, the boys are in a good space after a brilliant start last night.

“We had a meeting earlier where we highlighted the importance of really staying grounded. And last night was a massive win for all boys. Make no mistake about it.

“But we’ve also got a tournament at hand and the boys will stay focused. Really today’s talk was about putting last night behind us and focusing on what’s to come tomorrow. 

“Tomorrow’s going to be another big game. And hopefully the boys will reset and be ready and focused for tomorrow.”

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