Gary Stead has stated that New Zealand changed the team three times before the match against Pakistan on Tuesday, due to the uncertainty around clearance by the ICC for Adam Milne to play. Milne was roped into the 15-member squad as a like-for-like replacement for the injured Lockie Ferguson.
New Zealand had a disappointing start to the T20 World Cup 2021, as they went down to Pakistan by five wickets at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Tuesday, October 26. Batting first, New Zealand finished 134/8, with Daryl Mitchell and Devon Conway scoring 27 each. In reply, Pakistan hinted the target down with eight balls to spare.
Before the match, the team suffered a major blow as Lockie Ferguson was ruled out of the tournament with a calf tear. Adam Milne was named as his replacement, but he wasn’t able to play in the fixture against Pakistan.
Reflecting on the reason behind Milne sitting on the sidelines, New Zealand head coach Gary Stead has said that they wanted to play the right-arm quick, but uncertainty around International Cricket Council (ICC) clearance and the rules to replace injured players, caused some confusion. He further added that they had to change the team three times going into the game, considering this uncertainty.
"You always plan to have the changes like this, the most unsettling thing for us is we probably changed the team three times today on that decision," Stead said. "Originally we thought we'd got the clearance for Adam to play, but then it's been turned down. So we were questioning it with the ICC as much as an hour and a half out from the game and arriving there. We tried pretty hard to get across the line with the ICC our replacement player, but it wasn't to be.
"That was really disappointing for us because Adam Milne is someone waiting in the wings as a like-for-like replacement. What we were told is they don't give clearance on the same day, so we'll question that reason and continue to seek clarification on that."
Ish Sodhi was the pick of the bowlers for New Zealand, finishing 2/28, while Trent Boult, Tim Southee and Mitchell Santner bagged a wicket each. Stead further added that the management intended to play Milne over Sodhi as they felt that the Sharjah pitch more suitable for seamers.
"We weren't going to play Ish Sodhi we felt that pitch was one that would suit the seamers a lot more and the up-and-down nature of the pitch and the work we'd done around scouting and what the data was telling us was that it pointed towards seam bowlers and pace bowlers being more effective. That's the way we would have gone," he revealed.
New Zealand will take on India next at the Dubai International Stadium on Sunday, October 31.