“Time to fly” – New Zealand players head to England for Test series, WTC final


The New Zealand players and staff left for the UK on Saturday to take part in the two-match Test series against England as well as the World Test Championship (WTC) final against India.

The official Twitter handle of Black Caps posted a picture of the New Zealand contingent departing from the airport. They captioned the post:

“Time to fly! #ENGvNZ #WTC21.”

Three players in the contingent – New Zealand captain Kane Williamson, Kyle Jamieson, and Mitchell Santner – are currently in the Maldives. They moved to the island after the 2021 Indian Premier League (IPL) was indefinitely postponed. The trio will join the rest of the New Zealand team in the UK.

The Tests in England will mark the departure of veteran New Zealand wicketkeeper-batsman BJ Watling, who announced his retirement from all forms of the game a few days back.

The 35-year-old has featured in 73 Tests till date and holds the record for most dismissals by a New Zealand keeper – 249 catches (excluding 10 as a fielder) and eight stumpings.

Watling has amassed 3773 runs to his name in Test matches at an average of 38.11, with eight centuries and 19 fifties to his name. His career-best of 205 came against England at Mount Maunganui in November of 2019. Watling has also represented New Zealand in 28 ODIs and five T20Is.

Michael Vaughan has backed New Zealand captain Kane Williamson to score more runs than Virat Kohli

Even though New Zealand will play three Tests in England (two against the hosts and one against India) as opposed to India’s six, former England skipper Michael Vaughan has backed Kane Williamson to score more runs than Virat Kohli in the UK.

Speaking to Spark Sport, Vaughan said the following about the New Zealand captain:

“In terms of quality and what he brings on the pitch and his consistency, I wouldn’t back against Kane Williamson getting more runs. I think Kane may score a few more runs than Virat this summer.”

In the same interaction, Vaughan also stated that Williamson is on par with Kohli as a batsman. The England skipper feels Williamson does get due credit owing to the Indian captain’s crazy fan following.

“Kane Williamson has mostly had success. I’m not just saying it because I’m speaking to you guys in New Zealand. But I think Kane Williamson is right up there with the great players across the three formats and certainly matches Virat Kohli. It’s just that he doesn’t have the 100 million followers on Instagram and doesn’t earn the $30-40 million or whatever Virat gets every year from his commercial endorsements,” said Vaughan.

New Zealand will begin their tour of England with the first Test at Lord’s starting on June 2.

Published 15 May 2021, 22:54 IST


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