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News

New Zealand battle rain and jetlag ahead of crunch World Cup opener

Coach Gary Stead hopes the team's late start to the tournament will enable them to learn about conditions

Andrew McGlashan
Andrew McGlashan
04-Jun-2024
Some of the New Zealand squad are still trying to work out what timezone they are in, but head coach Gary Stead is hopeful that their late start to T20 World Cup 2024 - they are among the last teams to begin their campaign - will give them enough time to prepare and gain intel from the matches beforehand.
The squad has also had to dodge the rain since arriving in the Caribbean across various groups but has managed two full training sessions, which have included centre-wicket scenarios in the absence of warm-up matches.
New Zealand could have had warm-up matches but opted against them with their squad only having come together in its entirety on Sunday with the arrival of Trent Boult and Lockie Ferguson. Like Australia, they allowed those involved late into the IPL some brief time at home, which resulted in long journeys crisscrossing the globe. It means that some players won't have played a match since the end of the home season in March.
"You don't always get ideal [situations] when people are coming from all over the world," Stead told reporters. "And one of the things we have found here is jetlag probably hits you a little bit hard. I know a number of people have been up in the middle of the night, which isn't great for your preparation, but thankfully we have enough time leading in being the 14th game of the tournament that guys can sort that out."
As with many of the teams, there will also be a nervous eye on the weather with how any rained-off games could impact qualification, while shortened games could bring the jeopardy of DLS. New Zealand also have the challenge of starting with two huge matches against Afghanistan and West Indies in what is potentially the toughest group.
"Looks like the weather bomb that was hitting here has passed us by," Stead said. "It's definitely somewhat of a concern that in such a quick period of time of pool play that you want to play every match you can."
Stead gave a clean bill of health to the 15-player squad with Finn Allen training freely following the back injury which ruled him out of the Pakistan tour. "He's progressing well, has taken a full part in training so at this stage, touch wood, we are 100% with no injuries," he said.
Stead added that he would be taking a close interest in the Afghanistan-Uganda match on Monday evening which was the first night game in Guyana with New Zealand also playing Afghanistan under lights. The dew factor was visible with bowlers regularly using a towel to dry the ball.
"We'll get an idea if that helps the ball slide on a little more…it will be interesting to see after tonight how that plays out," he said. "We've tried to select a group of guys who we think are adaptable and can adapt to the different roles and situations in the match. When you look at our squad it's been the strength of a number of players in the past, working out what par is on any given pitch.
"I do think there will be a difference between playing in the daytime and in the evening. I suspect there will be a high dew factor here to play in the evening and that's certainly the news we are getting."

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo