Tom Latham cherishes 'fantastic achievement' against England, but focussed on big India challenge

Mayank Kumar

Mayank Kumar

Author| Jun 13, 5:32 PM

Image: Twitter
Image: Twitter

New Zealand stand-in captain Tom Latham, who has registered his name as one of the very few Blackcaps skippers to have won a series in England, said that the achievement was a long time coming and hence it is worth all the celebration from the team.

He was mindful of the fact that the Blackcaps have had their last success in England way back in 1999 and that their previous two attempts had failed although they had rich reserves of talents.

"It's a fantastic achievement from the group. I think it's important that we celebrate with each other. It hasn't been done since '99. For us to come here as a group, it was about trying to play our brand of cricket and I thought we did that really well over the four days and got our rewards at the end,” Latham said in the post-match press conference.

"It was about trying to do what we do really well and I thought we did. [It's] well documented that '99 was the last time we'd won here and we have been here a couple of times in recent years and haven't quite got the rewards. It's certainly an achievement that's worth celebrating."

The series against England was always seen from the prism of the World Test Championship final scheduled within a week time from the second Test albeit the Blackcaps tried all they could to downplay the larger goal. 

Latham said that the side will take a couple of days before switching their minds over to the game against a ‘completely different’ side in India that posses ‘fantastic’ bowlers and ‘quality’ batsmen in their squad. 

Not only was he ware of New Zealand’ history in England but he was also mindful of India's experience at the venue of the WTC final as they have played two Tests in Southampton on their last two tours of England, and hence he said that the Blackcaps will have to play their best cricket to defeat Virat Kohli-led Indian team.

"They've got a fantastic set of bowlers, [and] a lot of quality batsmen that have scored runs in different conditions all around the world. They were over here a few years ago and played really well, so we know we'll have to play well to beat them.

"Our focus will shift to them in a couple of days. The preparation has been great but it's important that we do shift our focus and adapt to a completely different side."

New Zealand made as many as six changes keeping in mind the tight schedule on the tour and the big game and the big players such as the skipper Kane Williamson, BJ Watling, Tim Southee and Kyle Jamieson sat out of the second Test in amove that established Blackcap’s eyes on the bigger goal of the World Test Championship.

Latham confirmed both Williamson and Watling, who were not fully fit for the second Test are ‘reasonably well’ on track to walk into the playing XI for the WTC final but also commenced the six replacements such as Matt Henry, Ajaz Patel, Will Young for cashing in on the opportunities, which he conceded has been tough to get over a long period for time.

"It was amazing from a personnel change of six guys. That hasn't happened for a long time in this group and it has been a hard team to crack into. For all those guys to get that opportunity - Will Young, Matt Henry, Ajaz Patel - was fantastic. They performed their roles really well,” Latham said.

"[Watling and Williamson] are travelling reasonably well. It was important for them to get a little bit of rest in order to be fully fit heading into next week. Fingers crossed we'll have a fully-fit squad."

Latham hit the winning runs against England to seal the series win but he has not been at his best with the bat in three of the four completed innings and New Zealand would rely on him to provide the team a good start against India come June 18.

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