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Every Team in International Cricket is a Threat: Williamson

Cricketnext Staff | Updated: February 27, 2019, 9:58 AM IST
Every Team in International Cricket is a Threat: Williamson

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Kane Williamson downplayed New Zealand's elevation to their highest-ever second position on the ICC team rankings in Tests insisting it was "something you don't focus on".

Following South Africa's shock 2-0 defeat at the hands of Sri Lanka last week, New Zealand leapfrogged them on the rankings table to move to second place for the very first time in history. While it was cause for celebration, Williamson wasn't getting caught up too much into it just yet.

"It's something you don't focus on. You're just focusing on the cricket that you play," Williamson said ahead of the first Test against Bangladesh at Seddon Park on Wednesday (February 27).

"Obviously we came off a home summer of limited Test cricket last year and this year there is a little bit more. I suppose you turn up to every game, prepare as well as you can to play the best cricket you can and it pretty much ends there.

"But what happens afterwards in terms of results and people’s views on rankings and all these sorts of things are not really focuses for us."

New Zealand are coming off an impressive 2-1 series win in the T20Is against India and followed it up with a 3-0 whitewash of Bangladesh at home. The action now turns to the three-match Test series a format in which New Zealand have had the wood over the Bangladeshis in the past.

The Asian side has never managed to win a Test against New Zealand in 13 attempts. The Kiwis have won 10 games while three have ended in a draw. In New Zealand, that statistics becomes even more one-sided with the hosts having won seven out of seven encounters.

With such a dominant record New Zealand certainly start as firm favourites to take the series but Williamson is quick to point out that "every team in international cricket is a threat" citing an example of Sri Lanka beating South Africa recently.

"They're all very, very talented," Williamson said. "Sri Lanka [winning] in South Africa was a fantastic result.

"It's hard to beat them anywhere – let alone in their backyard. Anybody can beat anybody.

"We always have tough battles against Bangladesh. We know we'll need to be playing our best cricket."

Williamson also said that Todd Astle will come back into the eleven as lead spinner for the first Test.

The playing eleven which was confirmed by the New Zealand captain has Trent Boult, Tim Southee and Neil Wagner leading the bowling attack, while Colin De Grandhomme occupies the lone all-rounder slot.

"There's some good experience mixed with an element of youth," said Williamson. "That's always been a strength of New Zealand cricket – that there are guys that are always coming through."

Meanwhile ninth-ranked Bangladesh, who have enjoyed home Test wins against England and Australia in recent years, are keen to take the success overseas as well.

Steve Rhodes, the head coach, said that they were looking to draw inspiration from Sri Lanka's recent Test win against South Africa.

"What Sri Lanka did was remarkable," said Rhodes. "When the boys look at those results it definitely will be an inspiration for them and I will use it in the team talk.

"If we play anything like we can do, we will surprise the New Zealanders."
First Published: February 27, 2019, 9:57 AM IST
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RankTeamPointsRating
1 India 5007 116
2 New Zealand 3570 108
3 South Africa 4397 105
4 Australia 4566 104
5 England 5490 104
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