World T20 2016 news March 9, 2016

McCullum created a lot of leaders in the group - Williamson

ESPNcricinfo staff
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Kane Williamson on Brendon McCullum's influence: "He has built a lot of leaders within the team. The change in leadership is a very small thing in the team." © Getty Images

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson said that the side's aggressive style of cricket, cultivated under the leadership of Brendon McCullum, had been effective but they would have to adapt that to suit the conditions for the World T20 in India. A key factor in the success of that style of play, Williamson said, was that the players had bought into the vision of McCullum and coach Mike Hesson, and he credited McCullum for creating leaders in the group.

The World T20 is New Zealand's first tournament after McCullum's retirement from international cricket last month. McCullum was credited with formulating the side's aggressive style of cricket, which brought them success, specially at home. McCullum also led New Zealand to their first World Cup final in 2015. Moreover, key players like Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Williamson also grew into their roles during his captaincy.

"That aggressive brand that we have been playing has been really effective for us," Williamson said in Mumbai, where they will play two warm-up matches as part of their preparations. "That is our focus but coming over here things will be different and we have to be smart, and look to try to play the brand that is best suited to the conditions and sides we come up against here."

McCullum's empowerment of players had ensured the transition in leadership was a small thing, Williamson said, while stressing that it was important for the team to continue with its selfless approach on and off the field.

"The team has come a long way over the last three years, some players are young but they have played a lot of cricket," Williamson said. "So there is a good mix of experience and youth as well. Most teams are built similarly. He has built a lot of leaders within the team. The change in leadership is a very small thing in the team.

"He (McCullum) led by example and encouraged others also to do the same. He created a lot of leaders in the group. It is fit to say that how the guys bought into his and Mike Hesson's vision was equally important - playing in the field and off the field, playing for one another, to be selfless cricketers and play for the benefit of the side.

"It is important that it continues. There is naturally a transition when you lose a player of the calibre of Brendon - not only as a player, but also as a leader. But that is a part of the game. It is a nature of what we do. You look to move on from what you have done so well."

New Zealand's squad for the World T20 includes the trio of legspinner Ish Sodhi, left-arm orthodox allrounder Mitchell Santner and offspinner Nathan McCullum. Williamson said that while he expected spin on Indian tracks, the composition of the bowling attack would depend on pitch conditions, and his seam bowlers would have as much responsibility as the spinners.

"You come to India and assume that the ball will spin on some surfaces. But it doesn't in some tracks. We will be looking at the pitches and deciding the combinations. We have got some young exciting spinners and hope to do well.

"Spin-bowling will play a big part. But seam-bowling will also play an important part. we have a couple of good seamers in our team. They are having niggles coming into the tournament, but they are all fit."

New Zealand are scheduled to play two official warm-up matches against Sri Lanka and England in Mumbai on March 10 and 12 respectively. They are in Group 2 of the Super 10s stage, along with Australia, India and Pakistan and the winner of the first round. They play hosts India in their first match of the tournament, on March 15 in Nagpur.

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  • Outside-off on March 12, 2016, 3:31 GMT

    I have voiced concerns about Mike Hesson & New Zealand cricket in general as a governing body. Look back to how McCullum became captain. The whole manner in which that happened stunk. I go to my grave thinking that McCullum was not a great captain, but a great ambassador of sorts. I think his style of batting is completely contrary to the example a leader is supposed to set. Wham bam thank you maam..and here is where his defenders mention the triple ton.. It was a historic innings. Good to get the heart rate up. The great thing was, on a few special occasions it actually came off. For McCullum. He took the fastest test 100 because he played that way, and it was amazing. But we lost. He didn't bat long enough for it to matter in the context of winning a match. Look who they have chosen to replace McCullum. Couldn't find someone more different if you tried. What message does that send? McCullum made more sense down the order, helping take the team home. Thats a captains knock to me.

  • Outside-off on March 11, 2016, 8:54 GMT

    @ Johnthekiwi. Mate i share your & every other kiwis disappointment at the series vs Aus. The tour of England was also a huge letdown. I agree that there are very real limitations as far as the bowling goes. Is there an answer? All i know is that we have to work with what we do have. The ball didn't swing for the Aussies but with a bit of lateral thinking they got reverse instead. I don't like seeing bowlers incapable of outthinking a batsman. I accept that bowlers are outgunned for the most part in the test arena, When has that not been the case? Shane, Bond, D.K.Morrison, R.J.Hadlee. That's it. Those 3 guys have been our genuine bowling matchwinners in the past 4 decades. I feel we are consistently more of a chance than we ever have been. Now that the McCullum hype train has been laid to rest let's just wait & see over the next, say 12 months. Historically our win/loss ratio sits below 50%.. Let's be realistic and look for wins to outnumber losses before we talk beating the best.

  • johnthekiwi on March 10, 2016, 17:18 GMT

    We got thumped this summer by Oz. Thumped in the format that matters the most. Right now we have one world class player (a player that would get into any test team in the world) and that is Kane Williamson. When the ball isn't moving our bowling is sub par and slow. T20 is a coin flip. We could end up winning the upcoming tournament and it won't disguise the fact that we got hammered by Australia and the cracks in the armor were exposed. I'm much less concerned about the batting going forward though than I am the bowling. If we just want to be a better than average white ball side then I think we have the personnel types that allow us to be perennial SF/F makers. If we want to win test matches against the best in our own backyard or on the road then there is a lot of work to be done. Maybe a 'leader' could suggest that the tolerance for legacy players is over and there will be no more auto-selects? @Outside-Off, regrettably you and I are at polar opposites here.

  • cricfan91185178 on March 10, 2016, 17:13 GMT

    Williamson needs to stop referring to Mccullum. Become his own man.. Some of us are sick of "aggressive "leaders with in the group.

  • Outside-off on March 10, 2016, 11:32 GMT

    I think the best is yet to come with New Zealand side. We still await the possible return of one Jesse Ryder, the up&coming George Worker, the. Power hitting of Colin Munro, Corey Anderson, and Martin Guptil. The World class pairing of Ross Taylor & Williamson. A bowling unit that cannot ever be underestimated. A fielding unit to rival any past or present. Perhaps Lathams place in the side would be more assured if he was given the gloves. Spin will always present challenges but Sodhi deserves an extended run. Does New Zealand need a new bowling & batting coach. Craig McMillan was someone who massively underachieved. I didn't sense any game in terms of technique adjustment or batting nous in the series against Australia. The T20 WC is the talk of the moment & i know this team can beat anyone IF they play with freedom & confidence. I hope Guptil is the player of the tournament. That would stick it up the doubters & the IPL good & proper. Go the Blackcaps!!!

  • cricketcrumnz on March 10, 2016, 7:08 GMT

    bring back jesse Ryder!!!!

  • immortalsidu on March 9, 2016, 13:35 GMT

    This is one reason why everyone loves new zealand as a team..they are humble and polite. We (Indians) have never beaten them in a t20 and I hope that changes in this world cup..never the less new zealand have always been a high profile team when it comes to world events and i think this world cup will be no different - India, australia, south africa and new zealand - my 4 semi finalists..a repeat of the 2015 50 over world cup.. all the best kane

  • Digggs on March 9, 2016, 12:12 GMT

    I doubt India will move to semis. Aus and NZ are good T20 side.

  • J.vomkrieg on March 9, 2016, 10:54 GMT

    I'm more worried about the drop off in the bowling performances since Bond left, I hope they get a good bowling coach in. While the team should be good for leadership, I've already seen a drop off in the technical bowling skills in the last year. Southee and Boult in particular have regressed as players.

  • SyedKhalidHassanRizvi on March 9, 2016, 7:48 GMT

    NZ are a great T20I team. I'm from Pakistan but my favorite team for this World T20 is NZ...

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