New Zealand captain believes spinners will play a key role at the ground
The Pallekele International Cricket Stadium brings back sweet memories for the New Zealand captain Ross Taylor.
His innings at this venue against Pakistan in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 was one of the highlights of the tournament. Now Taylor returns to the venue for the ICC World Twenty20 2012 for the Group D matches against Bangladesh and Pakistan.
Taylor’s role within the side has also changed with him taking over as captain after the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011.
“This is a very nice ground. It is totally different to Colombo. It is a very picturesque ground and reminds one of home, more specifically the Pacific Islands. I have good memories of this ground. But that was in a different format of the game against a different country.
“It was also my birthday (when I played against Pakistan in the World Cup). My birthday is not any time soon, This is a different tournament where we need to start well," recalled Taylor ahead of his team’s match against Bangladesh.
But the good memories apart, Taylor has a few things on his mind as he prepares his side to play Bangladesh on Friday. Two of his players Tim Southee and Rob Nicol were unwell, while a third former captain Daniel Vettori has just recovered from his illness.
“We won’t know until the end of training on whether we will have the full quota of 15. Every couple of hours they are feeling a little better. The weather is a bit colder so hopefully they can gain some energy and be available to play,’’ said Taylor.
The nature of the pitch at Pallekele means Taylor can afford a smile as his seam bowling unit could play a big part.
“I guess we will be looking to our seamers to have a big play in the tournament. Few of the players played the SLPL (Sri Lanka Premier League) here and had some success. The boundaries here in Pallekele are a lot bigger than other grounds. Spinners will play a role because in twenty20 cricket spinners do have a big part to play," opined Taylor.
The New Zealand captain is already clear in his mind on what he wants to do if he wins the toss.
“The pitch looked green yesterday. But we will have to wait and see what shape it finally takes. Maybe some grass may come off, we don’t know because it is currently under cover. We would obviously want to bat first. But if there is a green tinge we may change our mind. Batting first is the preferred option, but it also depends on the wicket. If we can put a decent score on the board then we can put pressure on the opposition," added Taylor.
Bangladesh offers the challenge of at least three left-arm spinners to any opposition side. New Zealand have tried to counter that by employing a number of left-arm spinners as net bowlers.
“We played a lot of left-arm spin in the nets. We will play at least 12 overs of left-arm spin. We need to play them well. We have a few left-handers in the line-up so they can combat the left-arm spinners. But for the right-handers too it is important to combat them. We may play left-arm spin throughout the innings," said Taylor.