Cricket: Just like home for Kyle Mills

Kyle Mills.
Kyle Mills.

As New Zealand gear up for their final official Twenty20 fixture before next week's World Cup in Sri Lanka, Kyle Mills believes some of the wickets at the tournament will have a Kiwi element to them.

The Black Caps meet India in Chennai in the early hours of tomorrow morning and have warm-up games on Saturday and Monday - which aren't given official international status - against Australia and South Africa respectively.

It's not a lot of match practice to build up to a global tournament and New Zealand were robbed of another game against the Indians during the weekend because of rain in Visakhapatnam.

But Mills said New Zealand will be ready when they open the tournament against Bangladesh on September 21.

"I think the wickets in Sri Lanka have changed somewhat and I think we noticed it especially in the newish grounds across Sri Lanka; definitely up in Pallekele at night time it produced movement that assisted the seam bowlers," said Mills, who had a brief stint in Sri Lanka's Twenty20 league last month.

"Fortunately for us our group phase is at Pallekele so it suits our style of bowling. So I've never come across a wicket that's more like New Zealand conditions in the sub-continent than what you'll get in Pallekele."

Twenty20 is a fickle game and one or two individual performances can swing the outcome of an event or if a player gets on a roll it can be tournament defining for a side.

With that in mind, Mills said the final three games before the tournament started were important for New Zealand and he said they needed to find some form quickly.

"I think it's important on a number of fronts and we probably haven't quite settled on a starting line-up yet," he said. "We've also got practice games over in Sri Lanka before the main tournament but I'm a firm believer - even more so in Twenty20 cricket - that cricket's a big momentum game. If you have momentum on your side, then that instils confidence within the group and you can create that throughout the tournament. In tournament play, such as the World Cup, it's really important to have confidence and momentum on your side of the ledger."

New coach Mike Hesson will have a couple of dilemmas to mull over in terms of his playing XI, particularly in the spin bowling ranks where he has Rob Nicol, Ronnie Hira, Daniel Vettori and Nathan McCullum at his disposal, all of whom warrant selection on their day.

Mills said the slow men, who will play a key role during the tournament, were a strength of New Zealand.

"It's a pretty strong spin line-up, probably the strongest spin line-up New Zealand has ever fielded. We all know Daniel's success in T20 cricket over here with Bangalore and Delhi. He's got a fine record and Nathan's highly ranked in this form of the game as well. It bodes well for us in the spin department."

Hesson will also be keen to see if 20-year-old pace merchant Adam Milne is worthy of a role in the starting side after he was a surprise inclusion to the 15-strong squad.

- APNZ

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