New Zealand coach Gary Stead says his team is bracing up for a ‘tough and challenging’ schedule as they head to India for a three-match T20 series, starting just three days after the T20 World Cup final which the Black Caps lost to Australia in Dubai on Sunday.
New Zealand on Sunday lost to Australia by eight wickets in the showpiece but Kane Williamson’s men will hardly have any time to regroup as they face India in the opening T20 international at Jaipur on Wednesday.
It will be followed by the second and third T20 Internationals on November 19 and November 21, before they kick off their World Test Championship defence with two games in Kanpur and Mumbai.
“It’s the first time that I can remember that we're so quickly into another series immediately at the back-end of the T20 World Cup,” Stead was quoted as saying by 'ESPNcricinfo'.
“It's definitely tough and challenging but it is what is in front of us.” The members of the Test side, who are not part of the T20 squad, are already in India. It will be a busy time for the kiwi support staff as they juggle with training the Test players in the morning and the T20 cricketers in the evening in the next few weeks.
“We've got nine-ten guys in India already, who are preparing for those Test matches, and hopefully we can get up and have a really great performance against India.” New Zealand cricketers have been in the bio-bubble for varying time period with 10 members of the T20 squad also competing at the IPL in UAE which preceded the ICC event, while others like Glenn Phillips and Jimmy Neesham played at the Hundred.
There were others like Martin Guptill, Mark Chapman and Ish Sodhi, who also stayed in the UAE bubble following New Zealand's decision to call off their tour of Pakistan due to security concerns in September.
In some good news for New Zealand, pace spearhead Lockie Ferguson, who missed the T20 World Cup due to a calf injury, is likely to return to action.
Ferguson, who was sidelined just hours before New Zealand's opening match against Pakistan in Sharjah, has resumed bowling at the nets in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. “In terms of Lockie, I think he is pretty close,” Stead said.
“We will just make sure we get over there, travel okay and there's no issues like seizing up on the flight or anything like that. But I'd expect that he's going to be available for selection, which will be fantastic.
“With all the guys that are going to prepare for the Test matches, we just have to make that call over there - whether we think it's in the best interests of them and also in the best interests of the team being that the Test matches are more of our priority, I think, in the next month than what the T20 matches will be.”