Wellington Firebirds head coach Glenn Pocknall says the future of New Zealand cricket is bright and the BLACKCAPS’ World Cup heroics will inspire the next generation of young cricketers.
The BLACKCAPS fell just short of lifting their first ICC Cricket World Cup after tying with England in a super-over before the home side were named winners on a boundary count-back.
Pocknall, who like most of New Zealand, stayed up until the early hours of the morning to watch the nail-biting action unfold, said the impact of the BLACKCAPS’ achievements would be evident in the future.
“As a kid, at 12 or 13, watching the 1992 World Cup, I remember how that inspired me to play the game and go out in the backyard and pretend I was Martin Crowe or Danny Morrison winning games for New Zealand,” he said.
“That’s exactly what Kane Williamson and the BLACKCAPS have done for future generations – we won’t see it now, we won’t see it next week, but we will see it in years to come.
“They’ve inspired the next generation of cricketers and that’s the legacy that they’ve left and is something that New Zealand can be incredibly thankful for.”
Pocknall was also full of praise for Firebirds allrounder Jimmy Neesham who, alongside Martin Guptill, faced the super-over that brought the BLACKCAPS inches from glory.
“I was pumped when I saw he was padded up and when I saw him running out I knew that yea he’s up for this. He charged out to the middle and couldn’t wait to get down to the strikers end to face that first ball from Archer,” said Pocknall.
“Knowing we’ve had a small part in who the guy is and his development as a player makes it pretty special and to see him so ready to get out there on the world stage and try and win his country a World Cup was pretty emotional.”
Neesham finished the tournament with 15 wickets and 245 runs and was one of the BLACKCAPS’ standout performers of the tournament.
The 28-year-old took the vital wicket of Eoin Morgan in the final and hit England bowler Jofra Archer over square leg for a big six that had the BLACKCAPS in the hunt with seven runs required off the remaining four balls of the super-over.
“He had an awesome tournament, but we’re not surprised he did, it’s one of the reasons why Bruce and I approached him almost twelve months ago to get him to Wellington.
“We knew he was a match winner, we knew he was a world-class player and he has shown the world exactly that and that he’s right up there as one of the best allrounders in the world.”
Firebirds wicketkeeper Tom Blundell was also part of the BLACKCAPS World Cup squad and, despite not getting an opportunity to play any matches, Pocknall said the two Wellington players would benefit from being part of the rollercoaster ride.
“They’ll be better players for the experience, going through those ups and downs as a player only makes you stronger so the rest of our playing group will be able to feed off that when they return.
“Tom and Jimmy are already leaders within our squad on and off the field and they are going to be able to continue that contribution with this valuable experience they’ve gained which is really exciting for us.”
The Cricket World Cup has now come to an end, but the BLACKCAPS will be back in action next month with a test series in Sri Lanka, before they return for a blockbuster home summer of cricket which includes visits from Australia, England and India.