Despite their high-profile clash, Australia’s cricket team will do all they can to support their New Zealand “brothers” when the teams meet in a World Cup match overshadowed by the earthquake, said Ricky Ponting.
The second group game of the World Cup for the trans-Tasman rivals at the VCA Ground will take place against the backdrop of devastating tremors which have killed at least 98 people and injured hundreds more.
“We’ve all been extremely saddened by what we’ve seen happen in Christchurch in the last few days,” said Ponting.
“We’ve actually had a chance to speak now to most of the New Zealand players as well, having shared the hotel with them last night and this morning.
“I’ve got a couple of guys who I am quite close to in that New Zealand side and they tell me their immediate families and friends are all safe although I understand there are some that aren’t.
“I think their physio and trainer have had to go back to New Zealand.
Kiwis struck by ‘White Lightning’ impact
New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori hailed former South African spearhead Allan Donald claiming he has
revived the faltering confidence of the Black Caps seam attack.
Donald, known as “White Lightning” during his career, was hired as bowling coach in January.
They lost 14 of their previous 16 one-day matches but stopped that rot with a 10-wicket demolition of Kenya in their Cup opener.
“He’s brought a wealth of experience but the biggest thing he has brought is confidence,” said the captain.
“When a team hasn’t been winning, to have him come into the side and instil the sort of confidence that he has and the knowledge that he has in some of our bowlers has been great.
“Tim Southee and Hamish Bennett particularly have worked really hard with him and enjoyed his expertise.
Approaching milestones in the match
Watson needs 68 more to reach 3,500 One-Day International runs while Cameron White needs 31 more to reach 2,000.
Ponting needs one more innings to break Sanath Jayasuriya’s record of 37 in world cups and needs another century to go top
of the list in the event.
Meanwhile, New Zealand all-rounder Jacob Oram needs six wickets to become the highest wicket-taker
in world cups for his country.
Southee is a recent talent that has spring up for New Zealand. He snares wickets primarily through swing and in the last year, he has taken wickets against good batting sides, including a five for 33 against Pakistan, four for 36 against Australia and four for 49 against India. His major weapon is the yorker and his captains throw him in the death overs for that reason.
Although arriving as an all-rounder eight years ago, Watson has become the opener stepping into the boots of Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist without either of them there to help in the transition. Yet he has taken the opportunity and has never let go. Still under 30, he has had a career that has had an injury index which even a stuntman would not have in a lifetime. He now is firmly established as Australian opener in all formats of the game.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 25th, 2011.
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