On the rare occasions when India’s menacing pace attack could not scythe through opposition line-ups in this World Cup, their spinners did the job in their own ways. However, that may not be the case when Kane Williamson leads New Zealand out in the first semifinal against the in-form hosts here on Wednesday, according to batting great Sunil Gavaskar. Highlighting Williamson’s adept footwork and strategic approach, Gavaskar reckoned the Kiwis skipper will have no trouble negotiating the Indian spinners, especially the unorthodox Kuldeep Yadav.
“He’s such a great player; it doesn’t matter if he’s come out from a big break and he’s scored runs. So, I don’t think it’s going to make much of a difference,” Gavaskar said on Star Sports.
“He uses his feet really well to go down the pitch to smother the turn if needed; he then goes and uses the crease as well. So, he’s a very good player. I don’t think he is going to be fussed about playing Kuldeep; he will know how to tackle him.”
Gavaskar said Williamson’s cricket in this World Cup has not just been about technical nous and cultured strokeplay, as the affable Kiwi has also shown a propensity to take the aerial route, a far cry from his 2019 avatar.
“If needed, you don’t want to hit him for boundaries; just work it away for six singles if that is required. Then, six runs an over is a good scoring rate by any standard, so he will look to do that.
“When the boundary ball comes along, he will hit the boundary ball, so we’ve seen his willingness to take more risks. We haven’t seen that side of Kane Williamson maybe in 2019, but here, we have seen him take the aerial route.
“He got out on a shot for a 100 the other day; he got out on 95, but that’s because he had taken the aerial route, and he will probably look to do that against Kuldeep Yadav as well,” Gavaskar concluded.
India are considered favourites against New Zealand in what will be a repeat of the final four clash four years ago in the 2019 edition.
The Black Caps were the last to book the semifinal slot with India being the first side in the final four, followed by South Africa and Australia.
India have gone unbeaten in the World Cup so far, winning all their nine league matches and are the only team to do so.
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