Tim Southee has expressed his desire for New Zealand to play more Test matches in the coming years along with an increase in three-match Test series that the Black Caps seldom play. Southee, taking the examples of Taylor and Anderson, further stated that he hopes to prolong his career.
The Kane Williamson-led New Zealand side created history last week after they defeated India to win the inaugural edition of the World Test Championship, yet unlike their competitors England, Australia and India, the Blackcaps do not play as many Test matches. In fact, the last time they were involved in a four Test-match series was back in 1999 against England, which they won 2-1, and this WTC cycle, they played just 11 Tests, ten fewer than England (21).
Prior to the WTC final, New Zealand had played just 18 Test series since 2016, and 13 of them had been two-Tests affairs with the remaining five series played being best-of-three contests. Senior New Zealand pacer Tim Southee, who picked 56 wickets in the World Test Championship, which was the most for his country, has desired for the Kiwis to play more Test cricket. Southee also hoped for the Blackcaps to partake in more three-Test match series, the count for which read ‘one’ during the inaugural WTC cycle.
"I guess one of our strengths as a side is that we sort of just concentrate on what's put in front of us, and what we try and achieve as a group, [but] I guess playing more Test cricket as a whole would be nice. We don't play that many three-match series, so I guess just being able to play more Test matches and hopefully more three-match series rather than two-match series, " Southee said, reported Cricbuzz.
"But yeah, I think it's tough with future tours [programme] already being in place up to now, but just being able to perform at this level for a number of years and being a consistent side, I guess we have that right to play more Test cricket," he added.
Test cricket has been dubbed as the best format for an individual to test and improve their game, and many stalwarts of the game have insisted on the need for modern-day players to hone their skills in the longest format. Southee, like many a purist, feels that Test cricket is the pinnacle of the game, and thus expressed the desire to play more long-form cricket.
"As players, Test cricket is the pinnacle of the game, and you always want to play more. It's something that we haven't played a lot of, three-match-series, so to be able to test yourself over three matches rather than just two matches - it's obviously a lot more taxing, it's a tougher battle to get yourself up and go again over three matches, but that's the beauty of it, and it's part and parcel of it. It's tough cricket, and you want to play as much as you possibly can,” Southee asserted.
England’s 38-year-old leading wicket-taker James Anderson has been the supreme ambassador of Test cricket and New Zealand’s Ross Taylor, 37, who is five Tests shy of becoming New Zealand’s most capped player in the longest format of the game, played a massive role in his team’s WTC triumph. Southee cited the examples of the two stalwarts to point out that age is only a number, and insisted that he aims to play for as long as he can.
"Seeing guys like James Anderson, at 38, still being able to do what he's doing gives everyone hope, Ross Taylor at 37 still being able to perform at this level. I think it comes down to the individual standards that you set for yourself, and you're able to hold those high standards that it takes to play at this level, then I guess age is only a number. I hope there's a lot of life left in me.”
"I feel as fit as I ever have, so I'd love to play this game for as long as I possibly can. It's an absolute privilege and an absolute honour to represent your country, and do what we do, so I personally would love to do it [for as long as possible],” Southee concluded.