T20 World Cup 2021: Encouraging signs for seamers but could improve later- Tim Southee on wickets in UAE

Playing in the IPL 14 was a great experience for Tim Southee | BCCI/IPL

New Zealand pacer Tim Southee said that he now has a fair idea of the conditions in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) having played in the recently concluded Indian Premier League (IPL 2021) for the runners-up Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and he aims to make the most of that experience in the ICC T20 World Cup 2021.

He had a good look at the conditions at Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Sharjah during the IPL 2021 ahead of the T20 World Cup and the pacer believes that the conditions in the UAE can help the seamers early on in the ongoing global event, but it could change as the weather gets colder in the gulf.

However, Southee, who is known for his toe-crushing and swinging deliveries, feels the wickets in the UAE could get better as the temperatures fall in the UAE and can offer some assistance and hope to the fast bowlers in the ongoing T20 World Cup 2021.

The experienced bowler, who is set to play his fourth T20 World Cup, has expressed satisfaction with his preparations during the IPL 14 for the showpiece event in the UAE.

Southee said on Monday (October 17): “It was a great ride. KKR had a disappointing first half of the tournament, played some very good cricket in the second half, and managed to sneak through to the final. Overall, it was a great experience for me personally and for the guys involved in IPL, and no better preparation leading into the World Cup here in the same conditions we’re going to be faced with. It was a good bit of preparation going into the T20 World Cup and conditions we will face.”

On the slow wickets in the UAE, “The wickets have been slightly different from what you usually expect here in the UAE, a touch on the slower side. Seamers have done a reasonable job, used a lot of cutters instead of banging away into the wicket. Once the temperatures start to [drop], I am sure the wickets will improve, so the key is to adapt to conditions and use the knowledge of those involved in the IPL.”

The 32-year-old pacer also feels the inputs from Stephen Fleming, former New Zealand captain, and current Chennai Super Kings head coach, will be crucial for the Black Caps in the T20 World Cup.

He further noted, “We have got Stephen Fleming here, too, who has coached the IPL side, banking on that knowledge and coming up with a plan which will suit our side. A strength of this side is adapting to conditions … and it’s about coming up with a plan that suits our side.”

Southee signed off by saying on how much the T20 format has evolved over the years, “Seamers (have been) developing different kinds of balls over that time as well. When you go back to the start, you’d just have a yorker and a slower ball and sort of bang away at length. Now, you’ve got so many different types of balls.”