On the eve of the one-year anniversary of last year’s extraordinary World Cup final, New Zealand coach Gary Stead has admitted there remains a “numb” feeling about the result which saw England win on boundary countback.
The match was tied across the initial 50 overs after Ben Stokes could only manage a single off the final delivery having hauled England to the brink of victory with an innings that included six runs when the ball deflected off the back of his bat to the boundary – which subsequently emerged as an umpiring error – taking England from needing 9 off 3 to 3 off 2 balls.
“I do think about it a bit, I think everyone has really different emotions around it,” Stead said. “The thing that stands out for me is that it’s all a bit numb, really, in some ways but enormously proud of the way we played the whole tournament. As a Kiwi and as a supporter of the Blackcaps it was hard to be any more proud of the way they played and fought in that match.
“I think there’s a wee bit of hurt from time to time and I guess any Kiwi fan is probably very much in that same boat. There’s no bitterness at all, we understood the rules going into the match. It’s a hard one because there’s some great emotions that came from that tournament as well, but unfortunately it was just that final hurdle we didn’t cross. It’s something I’m sure will drive the players to keep wanting to get better every day.
“It’s gone pretty quick although a lot has happened in the world since then. We’ve certainly had some unsettling and difficult times. I think back, sometimes it feels like 10 years ago sometimes it feels like one minute ago. It’s certainly a match that evoked a lot of high and pretty good emotions around it if you take away that last ball or two.”
Asked if he had watched the match back, Stead said: “I haven’t watched it ball-by-ball. I know what happened, don’t worry. I don’t know if I will. Things like the Super Over comes on highlights now and again, but there’s only so many times you can watch it because you can’t change the result. The close results like that produce the spectacles you want in international cricket and for that you can thank England and the Blackcaps for the way they played that game.”
Stead was speaking on the opening day of New Zealand’s first winter training camp as the men’s and women’s teams begin preparations for the new season. New Zealand has so far been successful in their battle against Covid-19 and confidence is high that a full home international season will take place with Stead indicating an early-to-mid November start. “By all accounts, what I’m hearing is that looks highly likely,” he said.
Bangladesh, West Indies, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Australia are all set to visit for men’s series under the Future Tours Programme although how exactly the season is structured could depend on what series are moved when the postponement of the T20 World Cup is confirmed.
In February and March New Zealand are due to host the Women’s 50-over World Cup and it is the women’s team who are set to be back in action first with a tour to Australia starting in late September.
The New Zealand players based in Wellington and the South Island will have three camps at Lincoln near Christchurch between now and early September while those based in the rest of the North Island will train at Mount Maunganui.