Last week I predicted New Zealand to be the favourites to win the World Test Championship against India. Now, as world champions, Nathan Rarere, Guy Heveldt and myself chat about the Blackcaps’ path to becoming the world’s # 1 Test side.
REVIEW: At 5:34am on a Thursday morning, New Zealand cricket fans let out a collective sigh of relief as Ross Taylor whipped a ball off his pads to the boundary, which after a bout of typical UK summer weather, secured an unlikely win for New Zealand in the inaugural World Test Championship Final. Following their victory, we can take look back over the team’s performances throughout the 2019-2021 iteration of the WTC event and identify who the stand-out performers have been.
Performances for all New Zealand players during the 2019-2021 World Test Championship. *Note that home series versus England in 2019 and away series versus England in 2021 were not part of the World Test Championship. This excludes Conway’s debut innings of 200 in June 2021.
|Player||Matches||Runs||Batting average||Wickets||Bowling average|
|Colin de Grandhomme||7||313||31.3||11||39.6|
A key feature of this current New Zealand team is their balance. In years gone by, Blackcaps fans have been fed a steady diet of players who dominated the domestic cricket scene (well documented by this Facebook page), but were simply not up to scratch in the international arena. The side was heavily reliant on performances from the likes of Brendon McCullum and Ross Taylor with the bat, and Daniel Vettori and Chris Martin with the ball. Not any more; the entirety of the current side boast the ability to produce a match-winning effort on any given day.
As always, this side has been lead from the front by skipper Kane Williamson, whose career average of 53.95 now surpasses that of Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara, Ricky Ponting and AB de Villiers, and surely sees him rapidly approaching “all-time great” territory. However, this has not been a one-man show. Latham, Taylor and Nicholls have all spent some time ranked among the world’s best in the last two year period, as have three of the side’s top four bowlers: Southee, Wagner and Boult. This does not include rising stars Conway and Jamieson, who have both enjoyed dream-like starts to their brief international careers, while players stepping into the all-rounder role have also performed whenever given an opportunity. Colin de Grandhomme’s miserly RPO of 2.35 has allowed the side to hold up one end, while the strike bowlers attack from the other, and Daryl Mitchell has been impactful in his handful of appearances. Top that with the currently longest tenured wicket-keeper world cricket (until his retirement yesterday) in BJ Watling, you have one seriously solid side, whose only weak point appears to be a world-class spinner.
With the World Test Championship in the bag, the Blackcaps will begin preparing for the rematch in November, where they will be taking on India in their own backyard in a two-match series. New Zealand have never secured an away Test series victory in India — a win later this year will certainly prove that they are truly deserving of world #1 title.