While Williamson participated in the team’s first warm-up game as a batsman and fielded in the second warm-up, Southee has yet to make his debut in India.
Latham told reporters before the opener, “No Kane and no Tim as well.” He further explained, “He (Southee) is unavailable for selection. He is recovering nicely, it has been nearly two weeks post-surgery, so fingers crossed he keeps recovering. It’s a bit of a day-by-day process. But fingers crossed he’ll be available sooner rather than later as well.”
Southee sustained a thumb dislocation injury more than three weeks ago during a one-day match against England. He underwent surgery, which involved the insertion of screws and a plate to enhance his chances of participating in the 50-over tournament. Southee played a crucial role in his team’s runner-up finish in the 2019 edition of the World Cup but missed the dramatic final against England at Lord’s.
Despite being eight-time semi-finalists in 12 editions, New Zealand has yet to secure a World Cup title. They enter the tournament as underdogs, with many experts favoring either India or England as the favorites.
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Latham commented, “We are not focused on what people are predicting; from our point of view, we are solely focused on what we have to do.” He emphasized the importance of playing their style of cricket in the unique conditions of India compared to the previous two ODI World Cups in Australia and England. Latham added, “If we play to the best of our ability, then we are hard to beat on the day.”
New Zealand enters the World Cup on the back of a 2-0 series win against hosts Bangladesh but faced a 3-1 loss in a four-match ODI series against England last month. Latham expressed that previous results wouldn’t impact their upcoming games, stating, “It’s about turning up on that particular day and trying to play your best brand of cricket. If we play to the best of our ability, then we can beat anyone in the world. Conditions are totally different from what we played in England.”
Latham also mentioned that the team is excited to kick off the World Cup at the Narendra Modi Stadium, which boasts a capacity of 132,000 spectators.
(With Reuters inputs)