Kane Williamson refuses to dwell on 2019 World Cup defeat ahead of England clash

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson (PA Wire)
15:44pm, Tue 01 Jun 2021
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Kane Williamson is uninterested in dwelling on New Zealand’s agonising experience in the 2019 World Cup final or whether this is the best Test side his country has produced as he insisted his focus is squarely on the future.

The Kiwis are back at Lord’s for the first time since being edged out in the World Cup showpiece by England who prevailed on boundary countback after the sides could not be separated in the regulation 100 overs or a Super Over.

Williamson was adamant the tourists, who earned widespread praise for their gracious conduct in the aftermath of the result, are not looking to avenge what happened ahead of the first Test against England at the Home of Cricket

“Our focus is on the cricket we want to play as a Test side and there is certainly no thought of that,” the Black Caps captain said ahead of Wednesday’s opener, with around 7,500 spectators expected to attend each day.

New Zealand’s James Neesham, left, was powerless to stop Ben Stokes in 2019 (PA Archive)

“We were both part of a fantastic game that was decided by things largely outside both of the teams’ control. At the end of the day there was some fine print and obviously a few other bits and pieces that went on in the game.

“It will be a game that will be remembered fondly, whether you’re on the right side or the wrong side and that’s part and parcel of sport.”

Williamson was keeping his cards close to his chest regarding team selection although it is anticipated South Africa-born Devon Conway will make his Test debut after impressing in the limited-overs formats last winter.

Trent Boult is expected to miss the series – he will arrive into the UK on Friday – with a view to being ready for the World Test Championship final against India, which is set to get under way on June 18 at the Ageas Bowl.

New Zealand ranked behind only India in the Test rankings, have won nine of their last 11 series in the format, including the last three in a row although their record away from home – from a small sample size – is patchier.

The sides shared an entertaining 1-1 draw the last time they met on these shores six years ago but New Zealand have not had a Test series win in England since 1999.

We were both part of a fantastic game that was decided by things largely outside both of the teams’ control.

Williamson is therefore braced for a taxing two-match series in which their mettle against the Dukes ball will be tested – even if their opponents will be without the likes of the injured Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer.

“I think we have seen a lot of improvement in the side,” he said. “Being part of that growth has been really enjoyable. It’s difficult to take stock in a moment in time when you know the next day there is another challenge.

“There is always room to improve. We have a tough challenge against England and then India. We are very realistic about where our focus needs to be – and it is certainly not looking backwards, it is looking forwards.

“We know how tough it is over here and how clinical England are, certainly in their own conditions but also all around the world. It is important we focus on the cricket we want to play but also try to improve and adjust.”

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