With an aim to arrest the New Zealand’s downward slide, stand-in skipper Tom Latham is more than eager to turn things around for the hosts in the upcoming three-match ODI series against India, starting February 5 (Wednesday) in Hamilton. Latham has been handed over the captaincy duties after regular skipper Kane Williamson had been ruled out from the first two ODIs vs India due to a shoulder injury.

In absence of the experienced Williamson, the left-hander Latham is banking on fresh faces to turn around the fortunes of his injury-hit side against a seemingly invincible India. “We had guys who sat and watched it (the World Cup final) over again. It was an experience for us where we didn’t quite come out on the right side. But you know it was an unbelievable game,” Latham said in a press conference in Hamilton on Tuesday ahead of the three-match series.

New Zealand were hammered by the Men in Blue 0-5 in the recently-concluded T20I series. Latham said the Black Caps, playing their first ODI since that infamous World Cup final loss to England on boundary countback, are hopeful of bouncing back.

“…now for us it is important that we refocus on the job in hand. We have played India a lot over the last couple of years. So, there shouldn’t be too many surprises…for us it is about trying to focus on the series rather than looking back to that World Cup game,” he added.


Speaking about Williamson’s absence, Latham said Williamson is a big player for his side. India will also be missing Rohit Sharma, who is ruled out owing to a calf injury. “It is disappointing to lose people like Kane…But again it presents an opportunity to someone else to come in and stake a claim. Fingers crossed, he (Williamson) will back as soon as possible.”

“(With Rohit) it is similar to the Kane situation. He is a massive player for India. But again, it presents and opportunity to someone else. We know what depth Indian cricket has and we are certainly not going to take them lightly,” the 27-year-old further added.

New Zealand are battling an injury crisis, which includes Williamson. The Black Caps will, however, be rejuvenated by the inclusion of all-rounder Jimmy Neesham and Colin de Grandhomme in the ODI squad. Keeper-batsman Tom Blundell and lanky pacer Kyle Jamieson are ones who don’t have an ODI cap to their name.

“The T20 results were disappointing for the T20 side. (But) It is nice that a slightly new group has come in for this one-day team, a few new faces and a different format,” he said.

“So it is important that we don’t try and reinvent the wheel to try and change our style of play…Obviously it is hard but as I said there is a new group now. Fresh faces in a different format, which will pose challenges in a different way.”

Talking about reversing the results after the T20 whitewash, Latham said, “Winning can be a habit. Unfortunately, we have been on the wrong side of those results, which has been disappointing.”

“As I have said earlier, it is a different format, which is probably refreshing for the guys. There are new faces, who were not involved in the T20 series. We have been in those positions in the T20 series to win the game. Now we can start winning and going across the line,” Latham signed off.