The pre-tournament chatter, ahead of New Zealand’s two-Test tour of South Africa, has the visitors tagged as favourites. Even with Brendon McCullum’s retirement during the home series against Australia early this year, New Zealand have managed smooth sailings under Kane Williamson and arrive in the Rainbow nation with a lot of confidence.
At the start of the series, New Zealand are fifth-placed – two spots ahead of their opposition, but Williamson opted not to view that as an advantage for his side and stressed on the need to focus on adapting to new conditions.
“I don’t think we regard ourselves as favourites. We know that South Africa are always a strong opposition, regardless of the rankings. You are constantly playing in different conditions and different countries all the time so adapting is part of the international game. For us the focus is on playing our cricket,” Williamson said on Thursday (August 18).
Williamson also overlooked the fact that South Africa will be severely depleted by the absence of AB de Villiers, stating that there won’t be a change to the visiting team’s approach to the series.
“It doesn’t change the way we approach this match. We want to focus on how we play our best cricket. Any team that did have AB de Villiers and now doesn’t, it’s not a great thing for them. He’s the best player in the world so for them it’s a bit of a loss but at the same time they’ve got a lot of depth. There’s so much talent in this country. Whatever team they pick will be a good team.”
The first Test begins on Friday (August 19) in Durban.