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EXCLUSIVE: Pakistan is incredibly safe for cricket tours; Rishabh Pant, Shubman Gill key for India in T20 World Cup, says New Zealand's Henry Nicholls | Cricket news

EXCLUSIVE: Pakistan is incredibly safe for cricket tours;  Rishabh Pant, Shubman Gill key for India in T20 World Cup, says New Zealand's Henry Nicholls |  Cricket news


NEW DELHI: In 2021, the New Zealand cricket team abruptly withdrew from a tour of Pakistan due to security concerns. However, they have since visited the country twice in 2023.
With less than two months to go until the ICC T20 World Cup starts in the West Indies and the US from June 1 to 29. New Zealand are scheduled to play five T20Is in Pakistan to complete their squad for the prestigious event.
New Zealand batsman Henry Nicholls expresses confidence in security in Pakistan.
The New Zealand team has already arrived in Pakistan and will start the five-match series at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium on Thursday. Nicholls, who was part of the New Zealand team that lost the pulsating 2019 ICC ODI World Cup final to England, spoke in an exclusive interview and spoke about playing cricket in Pakistan, the ODI World Cup 2019 final, the T20 World Cup 2024 and many more more…
New Zealand will play a five-match T20I series against Pakistan. How big will this be for New Zealand ahead of the T20 World Cup?
It's huge. Obviously, this is the last time that the team, the T20 side, will play international matches before the World Cup. Although there are a few guys missing at the moment due to the IPL, it is certainly a great opportunity for other guys to get a chance. And I think over the last few years, certainly for us as a country, we've seen the number of domestic cricketers who have been given an opportunity have really taken it. So I'm definitely excited to see that. There are some promising young players and they have certainly made it to the top of the rankings. Tim Robinson had a huge impact in our Super Smash competition. It would be great to see him take on a really good Pakistani side.
This will be New Zealand's third visit to the country in the past seventeen months. How safe is Pakistan for cricketers in terms of safety and security?
It seems like we've been there a bit over the last few years. From the players' point of view, we feel incredibly safe. We were very well looked after by Pakistan when we were there. Every time I was there I felt safe and the security was top class.


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You were the highest scorer for New Zealand in the 2019 World Cup final. Does the last heartbreak still hurt you?
I was actually thinking the other day: it's been a while since I was asked about the 2019 World Cup final. And as you say, it was of course nice to be the top scorer. Scoring one more time would have been nice too. But it was just a remarkable day of cricket. You don't often get the best cricket in the World Cup final, but that is probably one of the best one-day cricket matches ever played. And it was wonderful to be at Lord's on that occasion. It's obviously incredibly disappointing for us to lose like this. But we are proud of the entire team. It was a long tournament in England with a lot of support from home and even now, five years later, I get people coming up to me saying how great that last part of the whole tournament was and how proud everyone in New Zealand is. was from the team. Obviously heartbroken, but we will carry that with us forever. We know we did everything we could to put our best foot forward to win that final and that just wasn't the intention, as is sometimes the case in cricket.
How do you see the chances for the T20 World Cup in New Zealand this time?
Yeah, I think, you know, across all formats, every tournament we're in, New Zealand really seems to be rolling up their sleeves. I think we saw that during the One-Day World Cup final. When you get to that semi-final and final stage, even though I'm sure everyone would have wanted to win more than that one, you know it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. So if we can play good cricket and the team can get themselves into those semi-final situations, then anything can happen, especially in T20 cricket. We have a very strong side. We can see from the number of players currently playing in the IPL and other leagues around the world that the strength is there and hopefully things are clicking for the team. It can be a very exciting tournament as a player, but also as a fan of the T20 side.
Are there two key players you want to pick who can turn the tables?
It would be interesting to see the composition of the team, but I think someone like Glenn Phillips, especially in recent years, has had a huge impact on the team. He also bowls more. And then a name that everyone will know by now, Rachin Ravindra, and the immediate impact he has had playing for Chennai Super Kings at the moment and doing incredibly well. So those two players for me are probably young and exciting talents who will play for the team for a long time but will hopefully also have a big impact in the upcoming T20 World Cup.
What are Henry Nichol's four semi-finalists in the T20 World Cup and why?
New Zealand will of course be there. India too. I am also thinking of West Indies as it is a home tournament for them. I know a few of their franchise guys have committed to play in the World Cup. So I think they can definitely be a bit of a go-getter. And then among the others, you know, I think England probably want to put their foot forward after the one-day World Cup. We know how much firepower they have. So I'd say those four would probably be my contenders. A final between New Zealand and India and hopefully a victory in New Zealand.


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How much does Team India need Virat Kohli in the T20 World Cup?
Virat Kohli, he has been one of the greats of our game for a long time. I consider myself lucky to have played against him and know how much of a competitor he is. So I see his form in the IPL at the moment too, scoring a lot of runs. Every time he plays well and, you know, leads from the front with the bat, it makes India an even more dangerous team than ever.
Which two Indian players can play a key role in the T20 World Cup campaign and why?
I have a few options to go through in players, but I guess I'm not sure about the status of Rishabh pants, but it's somewhat available now. I mean, that would just be a great story for him. I'm not sure if he can make the World Cup squad, but I know when he plays he's just a great player and so dangerous. So it would be a great story for him to be at the T20 World Cup and then of course: Shubman Gill. The way he has played, you know, over the last twelve months, I've seen it first hand in India, got a double hundred against us in a one-day match. So in the T20s he is a classy batsman and also very destructive.
Sony Sports Network has acquired the exclusive broadcast rights of New Zealand Cricket for seven years.




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