'Not surprised in the slightest, I know Brendon & his style': Larsen
CHENNAI: Former New Zealand bowler Gavin Larsen was nicknamed ‘The Postman’ during his playing days because he always delivered. Larsen may have retired from international cricket about two decades ago, but that virtue has remained intact. The only difference is that he does it off the field now.
On Sunday, Larsen, the chief selector of the ‘Black Caps’, delivered on his promise of interacting with DT Next post match, although he was disappointed with New Zealand A’s defeat to India A in the second one-dayer at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. Larsen, who is accompanying the visiting team, spoke about the New Zealand squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup in Australia, Brendon McCullum’s impact on the England Test side and more.
On New Zealand’s T20 World Cup contingent
I am very positive with the squad that we have selected. It is similar in nature to the previous squad that had a very good World Cup. With the addition of a couple of fresh players… Finn Allen, who a lot of people know. He is a very exciting talent. There is a potential opportunity for him to show his wares. Michael Bracewell has been playing nice cricket over the last six months or so. He put performances on the board. From a selection point of view, it was very hard to not offer him a spot in the squad. He is a power batter who plays in the middle-order. He can also bowl a bit of off-spin.
On New Zealand’s remarkable consistency in global events in recent times
I think that we do [punch above our weight]. We are a small country; we have six first-class teams. We only have just over a hundred contracted players. We have to be smart and clever with how we work with our resources. That is really important. I do not think that we have fluked anything. In the last decade or so, the high performance programmes have been in shape. We have got good depth that has been developed. We are also aware that everything in life is cyclical. We have had this really good period. You would have seen Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme and James Neesham… and some of the other guys who are starting to get on a little bit in years. It is probably fair to say that we are in a transitional phase. It is going to be interesting to see how ‘Black Caps’ responds. It will add challenges from a selection point of view… how we manage the transition.
On Brendon McCullum’s current stint as England Test team head coach
I am not sure if I would call it ‘Bazball’. I am not surprised in the slightest. I know Brendon and his style. When I started selecting the New Zealand team about six years ago, Brendon was the captain. I think Brendon had one full season with me. I was very lucky to see Baz… obviously from a captaincy point of view… his dynamic batting. Seeing what he has done with England has not surprised me in the slightest. He is an incredibly positive character. He is the sort of guy that if you are in the trenches, you would follow him out to the battlefield. That is how he has been shaping the England team now. Good on him.
On Ross Taylor’s retirement
Ross is one of our greats. There is absolutely no doubt about that. He is a true champion of New Zealand cricket across all formats. We are missing him big time. Look, good on Ross because he pulled out on his own terms. Yeah, he has been a great servant of New Zealand cricket.
On the significance of ‘A’ tours, especially for New Zealand cricket
They are exceptionally important for us. Being a small country and having limited resources, they are very important for us to offer quality cricket against good or great oppositions in their own conditions. They sort of help us bridge the gap between domestic and international cricket. We have got guys in this team that have experienced a little bit of international cricket. The others are either on the brink [of making it to the national team] or are exciting talent. It is about trying to accelerate the growth. We are very lucky. We are trying very hard to not rest on our laurels. We have got good depth across formats at the moment. The ‘A’ tours help us prepare the new guys.