Kane Williamson. (Photo Source: X(Twitter)
In an exclusive interview with Star Sports, cricketing legends provided insights into the strategies and prowess of key players ahead of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 semi-final clash between India and New Zealand.
Former India cricketer Sunil Gavaskar expressed confidence in Kane Williamson’s comeback from injury, emphasizing that the New Zealand captain’s exceptional skills transcend any concerns about a recent break. Gavaskar highlighted Williamson’s adept footwork and strategic approach, predicting his ability to navigate challenges, including facing Kuldeep Yadav, with finesse.
Former Australia cricketer Aaron Finch delved into the artistry of India’s pace spearhead, Jasprit Bumrah. Finch emphasized Bumrah’s unique ability to swing the ball back into the left-hander, making him a potent force against batsmen like Devon Conway and Rachin Ravindra in the top order. Despite the seemingly unconventional approach, Finch likened Bumrah’s bowling to poetry, applauding the seam position and precision that make it a captivating spectacle on the field.
Finch also analyzed the batting approach of Daryl Mitchell, emphasizing the crucial need to dismiss him early. Acknowledging India’s proficiency in securing powerplay wickets throughout the tournament, Finch stressed that getting Mitchell out early would be vital, preventing him from dictating terms later in the innings.
Gavaskar spoke on the how Kane Williamson has come back from injury and how he will plan to play against India at the semi-final of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023.
“It doesn’t matter. He’s such a great player; it doesn’t matter if he’s come out from a big break and he’s scored runs. So, I don’t think it’s going to make much of a difference. He uses his feet really well to go down the pitch to smother the turn if needed; he then goes and uses the crease as well. So, he’s a very good player. I don’t think he is going to be fussed about playing Kuldeep; he will know how to tackle him. If needed, you don’t want to hit him for boundaries; just work it away for six singles if that is required,” he said.
“Then, six runs an over is a good scoring rate by any standard, so he will look to do that. When the boundary ball comes along, he will hit the boundary ball, so we’ve seen his willingness to take more risks. We haven’t seen that side of Kane Williamson maybe in 2019, but here, we have seen him take the aerial route. He got out on a shot for a 100 the other day; he got out on 95, but that’s because he had taken the aerial route, and he will probably look to do that against Kuldeep Yadav as well,” he added.
Former Australia cricketer Aaron Finch spoke on Bumrahs ability to swing the ball in to the left-hander.
“Yeah, of all the quick out there, and Bumrah in particular, his ability to swing it back into the left-hander is so crucial because then you can’t just worry about the ball going across and you might get a little bit of width now and then. You’ve to be on guard for the ball that swings back, particularly for two left-handers, Conway and Rachin in the top order. Bumrah is beautiful to watch. It doesn’t look like poetry when he’s running up to the crease, but once he releases the ball, the seam position and angle to swing it back down the line against the left-hander is just poetry; it’s unbelievable.”
Finch also spoke on how Daryl Mitchell will look to stay at the crease.
“Yeah, you’ve to get him early. That’s what India has been good at throughout this tournament, getting powerplay wickets and exposing middle orders against the brand new ball still. If Mitchell is able to bat till the 20th over, then he is able to play on his terms,” he said.