Acknowledges that the three Tests are in quick succession but says, “we have had a chance to prepare physically leading into this”
Tim Southee believes that workload management would not be a concern for New Zealand as they gear up to play three Tests – a two-match series against England followed by the World Test Championship (WTC) final against India – in 21 days, stressing that the players have prepared for the rigours.
“It’s exciting to play three Test matches in a short space of time,” Southee said after the first training session six squad members took part in following the touring party’s three-day hotel-room isolation in Southampton. “It is something that the team doesn’t get to do that often. We’ve come off a bit of a break, which has been nice, and (we have) been able to get some conditioning into our bodies, the guys that have come from the IPL and are going to be playing some cricket.
“So the guys are refreshed in some sort of way, using the next couple of weeks to get ourselves prepared and ready to play three Test matches. They are in quick succession but we have had a chance to prepare physically leading into this with some strength and conditioning stuff. Now, it’s just getting our loads to a point over the coming weeks so that we can rock on to those three Test matches.”
New Zealand arrived in London on Sunday afternoon with most of the Test squad and staff having then transferred to quarantine in Southampton, where they will spend the first two weeks of the tour. A three-day intra-squad game begins on May 26 at the Ageas Bowl, where six local bowlers who have isolated in advance will help make up the sides.
“It’s about familiarising yourself with some footage which we are seeing through and trying to come up with plans for these guys that we haven’t seen a lot of”
Southee on New Zealand’s preparation against new members of England’s squad
The two-Test series against England kicks off on June 2 at Lord’s, with Edgbaston the venue for the second game, before New Zealand return to Southampton for the WTC final.
“It’s nice to be here [Ageas Bowl]. The guys can familiarise themselves,” Southee said. “I imagine we’ll probably be in the same room when we come back and it’s nice for guys who haven’t been here to be able to come here and experience it. And when you come back for the final, you’re a little bit more comfortable having spent some time here and use the facilities and hopefully can get out and make the most of that later in the squad game in the middle.”
Southee echoed his team-mate Neil Wagner in making it clear he doesn’t view the Test matches against England as being warm-ups for the WTC title clash against India.
“Nah, I think anytime you get a chance to play a Test match for New Zealand, it’s an amazing opportunity and it’s something that you treasure, so I don’t think you would treat them as warm-ups,” he said. “It’s a two-match Test series against England and so our focus is first and foremost on those two matches against England.
“For us, it is great to have those matches in the lead-in to the final that follows on afterwards. It’s great preparation for the final but in saying that, for us it’s a two-match Test series that we’re really looking forward to, and the quality English opposition in these conditions.
“England are very tough in their own conditions. They obviously perform pretty well in these conditions. They’ve got a few new guys who are probably going to be very excited at the opportunity to play for England and try and get their mark on international cricket over the summer. I’m sure, as it always is, when New Zealand plays England that’s usually a pretty exciting, pretty close Test series and I imagine this is going to be no different.”
In order to familiarise themselves with the uncapped opponents and the Dukes ball – the New Zealand players who were not at the IPL had trained with it before leaving for England – the squad, Southee said, has been analysing video footage.
“There’s a few new faces in this English side that we haven’t seen a lot of. So it’s about familiarising yourself with some footage which we are seeing through and trying to come up with plans for these guys that we haven’t seen a lot of,” he said. “So it’s just about coming up with plans and looking at footage and things that have worked for you personally in these conditions as well.”