Southee pleased with depth in New Zealand’s pace bowling arsenal

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02 May 2020 | 05:43 AM
authorCricket.com Staff

Southee pleased with depth in New Zealand’s pace bowling arsenal

The paceman talks about the COVID-19 impact on the game, Blackcaps' bowling depth, Ross Taylor, and more

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Just kind of reflecting on the year of Test cricket. There were some tough conditions to bowl in at times, some challenges in your way. You must be proud of how it all sort of came together, particularly in that India series at the back end. 

It is, I think that's the nature of Test cricket now, is when you go away from home, the conditions are tough and it is tough to win away from home. So I think going back to that, the start of the Test summer in Sri Lanka, where we had the great Test win in Colombo after a tough loss in the first game, we were able to bounce back and then coming home to conditions that we are familiar with. And we do play some very good cricket and have played some very good cricket and for a long period of time now, was pleasing to beat a very good England team. And so it was, I guess, the much anticipated tour to Australia, which the guys been looking forward to that for a long time. And it is a tough place to go and go play cricket as many sides have found out. And we were nowhere near our best on that tour. And we're outplayed by a very good Australian side. I think the way that we came home, as I said to conditions that we were familiar with and we were able tip up a very strong Indian side in a way that we did, was  I guess, a very pleasing way to finish the summer and finish the Test summer. 

Which of those four challenges from a bowling perspective were the most challenging for you? 

I think any time you're playing away from home, because the conditions are foreign. Sri Lanka is a tough place, you're dealing with a number of, I guess, uncomfortable factors. You got the heat, the humidity, the conditions, and the pitches are so foreign to what we used to say, I guess going into that part of the world is always a challenge. And we're able to get the ball to swing at various times, which I guess helps out bowlers like myself and Trent in particular. It’s always a tough place to go. And that's why wins in that part of the world are very satisfying and very enjoyable. And then obviously, Australia is a tough place as many sides have found out over a long period of time, they don’t lose many Test matches in their home conditions, so as a side it is a very tough place to go as well.

How have you gone about that particular process of changing the way you approach your bowling or your tactics? Can you talk us through that process, please? 

I think it comes just being an official sportsman. I think you are always looking at ways to get better. You're always looking at ways to expand your game. Everyone works extremely hard at looking at different ways to improve. I guess you’re never really satisfied. You're always looking at ways that you can try and get better. It can be tough at times when you're juggling three formats of the game and you're dealing with various conditions and conditions that can be so foreign. But that is I guess the obstacles that we face as international cricket is, you just have to find ways to adapt and also find ways to try and get better, I guess being a little bit older and having a little bit of experience and learning from what you've done in the past and always trying to get better has helped as well.

Are you finding that you're actually using a lot of the same skills across all three formats? Are you bringing some of the T20 stuff into the Test matches? The Test stuff into the one-dayers? Is there a sort of cross-pollination in terms of a bowling point of view? 

I guess at times there is, but I think the initial the way you approach the game sort of stays similar. But then there’s various times in a game, in a Test match when not a lot's happening, then you can try a few things, try a few different things that you may use in the limited-overs stuff. And sometimes I guess especially with a new ball in a one-dayer is swinging a little bit or there is a little bit of assistance there, then you sort of go back to the basics, which holds you in good stead in the Test games. So I guess it is handy to have those skills that you can get from format to format and I think that the fundamentals are the same in each. And if you go into a Test match with a bit of a rough idea of how you gonna sort of play things out and vice versa with the shorter formats as well.

Would you like something to be done to the bowlers considering the size of the bats in use these days?

I guess if you ask the batters, they'll probably want more things in their favor, and the bowlers are always going to say the opposite. But I guess the nature of the way cricket’s played, it's entertaining. People like to see the ball disappearing out of the park. And I guess it adds to that the entertainment value and as a bowler, you've got to find ways to overcome those obstacles along the way, that the wickets seem to be getting better, that the bats seem to be getting better. The grounds, especially in New Zealand seem to be shrinking as well. So there's not many things in our favour. But it's also a challenge for us as bowlers to keep trying to get better and keep trying to find ways to keep the bowlers in the game. And I think we see that through the variations that are coming in with your knuckle-balls and all sorts of variations as well. But as a bowler you are always wanting a little bit more in your favour, possibly going back to one ball in a one-dayer where you can hopefully get a little bit a reverse swing towards the end of an innings and make it a bit tougher for guys to come out. At the moment, guys walk out and all of a sudden score 30 off 10 balls and at ease so I guess that's one thing that possibly could happen. But yeah, I guess it comes back to what people want to see and it's a bit of a spectacle. And unfortunately, they'd like to see the ball disappearing to all parts. 

Does getting this award make it even more special as it has come in the twilight of your career with injuries and all that stuff?

I think anytime you win an award like this, it's special. I guess you sort of accept it on behalf of your team-mates as well, I think. I couldn't have been sitting here today without the work that goes in from the guys. The other bowlers at the other end, the guys that take the catches. In particular, I think the work that someone like BJ Watling behind the stumps does as well. So I think it's a bit of a collective award. I see it in that way as well. From my point of view being that I couldn't do what I do without the guys around. But I think at any stage you win this award in your career, it's a special moment. 

What sort of motivates you to continue to really achieve that high standard every single time across all formats? 

I guess the honour and the opportunity to represent your country is something I dreamt of as a kid and to be able to do it for a long period of time and still have the fire burning to do it and wake up every morning. And to fulfil a childhood dream is pretty special. So, yeah, hopefully still got a number of years but touchwood, there's a number of things that can come into play there, but it's been a dream the last how many years it's been and hopefully many more to come but there is certainly the drive and the fire is still there to get better every day and try to improve as a cricketer. 

How do you see things when we come back in terms of shining the ball? And do you think a ban on shining the way it is done now is a practical move?

I guess there’s a lot of the unknown is that comes back to, I guess, what the health regulations come to, and that saliva is deemed as a way of I guess, not being able to shine the ball again. It's something that we'll have to have to deal with. Sweets is another one that we use. But whether that is ruled out as well, who knows? But I would imagine there have to be some sort of substance or something that we are able to shine the ball with. Otherwise, I think they’ll have to come up with a way to, I guess, level it out a little bit I would imagine. 

How do you assess the depth of what you guys have in pace bowling at the moment?

It was very pleasing to see Kyle [Jamieson] come in, he’s a youngster and for him to come in and perform the way did was very pleasing. Myself, Trent [Boult], and Neil [Wagner] have done it together for a long period of time. Obviously with the introduction of Lockie [Ferguson], who I’m sure is gutted with the way things went, but he's proven in first-class cricket and we've seen what he's been capable of with the white ball as well and Matt [Henry], is always there and thereabouts. It's pleasing to have those guys. And I think it's good for everyone. It creates a healthy competition around training. And as I say, it was pleasing to see you see a young guy like Kyle come in and have the impact that he did in the couple of games, he played in the summer. 

On Ross Taylor winning the Sir Richard Hadlee medal

Yeah, he's been brilliant for a long period of time and age doesn't seem to worry him. His numbers keeps getting better and better, he's obviously a key player for us in all three formats and the achievements he's done in those three formats and for someone at his age to be tuned up as long as he does. To be able to juggle all three formats the way he does is, is pretty impressive as well. It’s great to have him around the guys and I think it's great to have someone like him for our younger betters to learn from as well.

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Timothy Grant SoutheeNew ZealandIndia tour of New Zealand, 2020New Zealand tour of Australia, 2019/20

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