Kane Williamson expecting full-strength squad for Tests against India


New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson on Tuesday hoped for a full-strength squad for the Test series against India after managing the limited overs leg with injury-ravaged outfits.

Williamson was all smiles after his side completed a 3-0 sweep of India in the ODI series with a five-wicket victory in the final game, avenging their hammering in the preceding five-match T20 series.

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“We are expecting all of those guys to be fit for the first Test and they’ve been tracking nicely. It’s an exciting opportunity against one of the best sides in the world,” Williamson said.

“It’s part and parcel of the game that you get guys who get injuries. We’ve obviously had a lot of that in recent times to deal with but there have not been any excuses.

“Guys have come in to try and play the roles that they’re given to the best of their ability and learnt a heap along the way,” he added.

The skipper said that the limited-overs’ leg would not have much bearing on the ensuing two Tests, though they can still look to carry a bit of confidence from the 3-0 ODI series whitewash of the visitors.

“Obviously, a different side and a different format. Throughout a series you’re always trying to touch on areas as a group. It’s a different format but there are some parts guys will get confidence from going into that series.

“The focus does change but I know the guys are looking forward to that series.”

The Test series starts in Wellington on February 21.

Williamson praised his side’s effort in inflicting on India their first ODI series whitewash since 1989.

“Although we were 2-0 going up into this, there were certainly those expectations coming into this game to try and implement those things and also learn from those past performances that we had against India who are obviously one of the best sides in the world.

“It was an outstanding effort and a very clinical effort from the guys and I think the way we fought back with the ball was outstanding and the partnerships throughout that chase were brilliant as well.”

New Zealand overturned a disappointing loss in the T20I series to an over-powering win in the ODIs despite missing key names.

“It’s obviously disappointing when you lose. You always want to win. But there were a heap of good things in the T20I series. We all saw the fine margins that were out there in terms of the results.”

Williamson said it put the national side in a good space, despite the 2023 World Cup being quite far away.

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“That’s such a long way away (the 2023 World Cup). Then you have injuries and you bring guys in. There were some brilliant opportunities for guys who grew throughout this campaign and played some major roles as well.

“Injuries aren’t ideal but there are still silver linings that guys come in and get opportunities to develop their games against one of the best teams in the world,” he said.

Williamson said New Zealand played smart cricket in the series and put pressure on the opposition. The Kiwis blunted Indian bowling attack’s threat with ease in this series, in particular Jasprit Bumrah who went wicketless in the three ODIs.

“We know that Bumrah is a world-class bowler in all of the formats. So he’s a threat when he has a ball in his hand but I think there’s too much to look into it. He’s obviously back into his cricket after a period of time off as well. But from what I saw, he’s bowling very nicely.”