Former New Zealand captain and Chennai Super Kings coach Stephen Fleming has joined the Black Caps preparations for the T20 World Cup 2021 which gets underway in UAE and Oman on Sunday (October 17). Fleming will be part of the New Zealand support staff advising Kane Williamson’s team for a few days before the Super 12 stage gets underway next week.
“Fresh from the @IPL Final - it’s great to have @ChennaiIPL winning coach @SPFleming7 joining us for a few days ahead of the start of the @T20WorldCup #T20WorldCup,” New Zealand cricket team posted on their social handle on Saturday (October 16).
— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) October 16, 2021
Apart from Fleming, all-rounder Mitchell Santner also joined the NZ squad after completing his IPL duties by being part of the title-winning CSK side under MS Dhoni. The 48-year-old Kiwi southpaw, who has been CSK’s coach since 2009, became the most successful coach in the history of IPL after CSK's 27-run triumph over KKR in the IPL 2021 final in Dubai, surpassing Mumbai Indians (MI) coach Mahela Jayawardene. Fleming overtook the Sri Lankan international with his fourth IPL title – 2010, 2011, 2018, and 2021. Jayawardene has won 3 trophies with MI in 2017, 2019, and 2020 so far.
Meanwhile, Williamson said on Saturday that there were match-winners in every side competing in the ICC T20 World Cup, adding that on any given day anything could happen in the tournament. If the Black Caps lift the T20 World Cup trophy in November, it will be their second ICC trophy in a single year, after the team won the World Test Championship Final against India in England.
“It comes down to getting it done on the day. Every team can win any game, we know that in T20 cricket, there’s match-winners right across board so we just have to turn up at the right time,” said Williamson, who recently completed his assignment for Sunrisers Hyderabad in the just-concluded Indian Premier League 2021.
New Zealand are still searching for their first title in the shortest format, having previously reached the semifinal stages in the inaugural tournament in 2007 and again in 2016. Their recent form in global tournaments suggests they will be tough to beat, having only narrowly lost out to England in the final of the ICC 50-over World Cup 2019 before claiming the inaugural ICC World Test Championship this year.
But speaking in the pre-event captains’ media sessions, Williamson warned that the calibre of match-winners throughout the tournament means nothing can be taken for granted. “It’s an amazing competition and it’s obviously been a long time coming. There are match-winners throughout and anyone can beat anyone on the day,” said Williamson.
“There are going to be a number of challenges along the way. It’s a pretty short tournament so you want to hit the ground running, you want to try and get a bit of momentum early. But in these world events when you’re playing a different opposition every three days at a different venue there’s some adjustments to make quite quickly.”
(with IANS inputs)