Head coach of the New Zealand cricket team, Gary Stead feels surreal to see his side at the top of ICC’s Test team ranking. As New Zealand defeated Pakistan by an innings and 176 runs at the Hagley Oval, not only they clinched the series, but it also meant that New Zealand reaches the numero uno position for the first time in their history.
Skipper Kane Williamson has led them from the front and has been in enviable form with the bat. Since the resumption of cricket in the pandemic era, the right-hander has struck three hundreds, two of which are double hundreds. He bagged the Man of the Series award against Pakistan.
Along with Williamson, senior players such as Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Ross Taylor, Tom Latham, BJ Watling, and the tireless Neil Wagner have made significant contributions to New Zealand’s rise to the top of the world.
Youngster, Kyle Jamieson is the player to watch out for – he has picked 36 wickets in 6 Tests at an outstanding average of 13.28.
As quoted by ESPNCricinfo, Gary Stead said, “I think what has happened, that sort of No.1 world ranking at the moment, is a pretty special thing. There’s a lot of people and a lot of, I guess, expertise. The guys yesterday paid tribute to those people who came before to get them to this stage, I’m very, very proud in the way they continue to look to get better.”
Away victories special as the home ones: Gary Stead
When asked about New Zealand’s home domination and not winning much away, Stead opines that the rules are the same for everyone, and all the team finds it difficult to win outside of their home conditions.
Stead points out that, the Kane Williamson led outfit, have defeated Pakistan in an away series in the UAE, drew a series in Sri Lanka. The only Test series loss the Black Caps suffered was in Australia.
“It’s the same [ranking] method they use for everyone. Every place you go, it’s very hard to win away from home. That’s something we’ve talked about as a team is ensuring that all Test wins are special but especially ones you win away from home.
“Yes, we weren’t at our best last year versus Australia. But I can remember a few other Test wins that we have done really well, in UAE and Sri Lanka, and they are just as special as the home ones as well,” Gary Stead added.