With a balanced team and in-form players perennial underdogs New Zealand gets ready for another shot at the World Cup. World Cup 2023 Grant Elliott hopes New Zealand can bury the ghosts of 2015-19.
World Cup 2023 Grant Elliott hopes New Zealand can bury the ghosts of 2015-19
Unlike anyone else present at Eden Park in Auckland on 24 March 2015, Grant Elliott does not remember any of the conversations that took place during the World Cup semi-final against South Africa. And especially not while batting in the middle. But maybe one. “We definitely remember when (Daniel) Vettori came in with 5 runs to win off 2 balls and said, ‘Now it’s up to you, you have to take both balls.’ Yes, my heart started beating!” he tells The Indian Express.
As he tapped Vettori’s gloves and went back to take the strike, a thought came to our mind. Not that it was Dale Steyn, arguably the greatest fast bowler of the 21st century, who stood in the way of scoring those five runs in two official attempts. But he added, “If I didn’t hit the foursome here, I wouldn’t be going to my sister’s wedding, and I was the one who asked her to set up the date!” Luck is the best.”
Just four months before the 2015 World Cup, New Zealand’s national selectors told Elliott that he was not part of their plans. So at that very moment, his sister Kate asked him if he could organize his wedding on the same day as the World Cup final. So Grant Elliot had agreed to this but during this time he was standing at a strange juncture. However, there wasn’t much to choose from. A powerful blow of a shot over long on and New Zealand reached the World Cup final for the first time. Many didn’t see it coming. It was almost impossible to think of New Zealand as a hero that night.
But that has been New Zealand’s story in world tournaments – the only team to reach the semi-finals of the last four World Cups. You can’t count them. “We come together so well at world tournaments and that’s probably why we always punch above our weight,” says Elliott. As Kane Williamson and Co. set out on another campaign, Elliott believes that if anything, less focus on the team compared to India, Australia, and England helps. “No spotlight on teams and individuals…always under the radar and no following circus of the press to jump on every false comment or mistake on the field.”
Not only cricket but also World Cup fever is rife on the home ground. The Rugby World Cup being held in France has enthralled the entire country, which is likely to help the Indian team. “You can’t walk down the street completely black. The Black Caps still fly under the radar compared to rugby. I think we like it that way,” Elliott says before a small smile appears on his face and he admits his hopes for the next month and a half. “Most Kiwis want to grow up to be all black. “Maybe 2023 will change that to see a 13-year-old kid lift the trophy.”
This was something that Elliott and the 2015 group came very close to achieving. One last defeat that haunts him to this day. “In 35 overs with me and (Ross) Taylor we looked to be going around 150/3. We lost our way and couldn’t maintain the pressure. “I really regret it and we should have scored more than 250 from that position.”
It was also an emotional tournament for New Zealand as they bounced back behind one of their favorite sons. Martin Crowe, who was battling cancer at the time, expressed that his last wish was to see New Zealand lift the cup. Elliott, who was born in South Africa, went to watch the Proteas don the colors at the 1992 World Cup and immediately took a liking to the Kiwis and Crows. Crowe later became his favorite player and perhaps one of the reasons for him considering New Zealand as his cricketing paradise. Look at his squads over the years and you’ll know Elliott isn’t alone, but that’s a story for another day.
In 2019, the second World Cup final made an even bigger impression on the Black Caps. Elliott believed that although the Williamson-led team lacked experienced players like Brendon McCullum, Daniel Vettori, and company, the team was prepared enough to exceed all expectations.
The defeat at Lord’s in 2019, which resulted in not a single defeat on the scoreboard, raises the question of whether bad luck is associated with New Zealand in the World Cup. “Nothing unfortunate. You need a little bit of luck, otherwise, someone will beat you and no one will accept the game.
Elliott believes the 15-man squad in 2023 will be made up of players who “will not be afraid of the final or a tense moment.” In any case, they will accept it!”
However, winning is not everything for him. This is a popular saying among the New Zealand All Blacks, but it is also a popular saying for the Black Caps. From Williamson smiling after the Lord’s final to Elliott pausing his celebrations in his prime to console a distraught Steyn, the latter admitting that the ‘good boys’ nickname is one of those Kiwis get used to. They cling and are proud. Be humble in victory and humble in defeat. At the end of the day, you will be measured by the person you were, not by the runs and wickets next to your name.”
This is what makes New Zealand a favorite among neutrals. The way the Black Caps announced their team even before the ball was bowled in the 13th edition of the tournament, it seems that they have achieved their first win. You feel the warmth of a close-knit community when you see children, wives, mothers, and grandmothers announcing the 15th World Cup. “New Zealand is a community. Eliot believes that it is about the sum of the parts and not the sum of the individuals.
Where can I see World Cup 2023?
The World Cup 2023 matches can be FREE live-streamed on Disney+ Hotstar.
How many World Cup stadiums are there in India?
India has 53 international cricket venues, the most in any country – 30 more than the next most: England with 23.
How many teams will play in 2023 Cricket World Cup?
There are 10 teams: all but three of the International Cricket Council’s full member nations – the Test-playing countries – and one associate member. The missing trio are Ireland, Zimbabwe and West Indies, who won the first two World Cups, reached the final of the third and have never failed to qualify before.
Where can I watch the World Cup 2023 in India?
Star Sports Network in India will telecast the ODI World Cup 2023 matches live. Meanwhile, Disney+Hotstar will live stream all the matches on its app and website. While the day matches will start at 10:30 am, the day-night matches will begin at 2 pm.