Hamilton: New Zealand may be No.2 on the MRF Tyres ICC Test Team Rankings since the latest update, and they're set to take on No.9-placed Bangladesh in a Test series, but Kane Williamson isn't letting that gulf in rankings distract his side from the task at hand.
Bangladesh have never won a Test match on New Zealand soil, while Williamson's men are chasing their fifth Test series win in a row. It makes the hosts firm favourites to take the series, with the first Test starting on Thursday, but their captain was wary.
"Every team in international cricket is a threat," he warned on the eve of the first Test. Looking at the Test results around the world in recent times, his caution is wise. Recently, Sri Lanka completed a historic sweep in South Africa, while the Windies unexpectedly upset England, bringing them back down from a high of comprehensively beating Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka, an ICC report today said.
"There have been some upsets for some very strong teams," Williamson said. "They're all very, very talented. We saw Sri Lanka over in South Africa, which was a fantastic effort. It's hard to beat a side like South Africa anywhere" let alone in their backyard. It shows anybody can beat anybody," he said.
Their new No.2 ranking would have no bearing on how they approach the Bangladesh games, he added. "I guess if you can sit down at the end of the season and look back, then it rising in the rankings might be something you look back fondly on. But there's a lot of tough cricket between now and the end of the season."
Meanwhile, Mahmudullah, Bangladesh's stand-in captain for the first Test, admitted that "conditions would be tough" for the visitors, but urged his side to approach the series
with the right attitude.
Steve Rhodes, the coach, added that the big challenge would be to adjusting to the
swinging ball. "The batsmen have been working on these areas for the last six months,
not just for this series, but we do realise that if we want to play well away from home,
we need to cope with the ball that bounces and moves," he said.(UNI)