When Tim Seifert was told he’d be opening in the first T20I in Wellington, he went and looked up videos. Not unusual, but then he didn’t go watch his own videos or those of India’s bowlers.
“Kinda funny when I got told that I’ll be opening the innings,” Seifert told Star Sports, after setting up New Zealand’s 80-run win with an explosive 43-ball 84, “I YouTubed Brendon McCullum and watched some of his innings.”
In his post-match press conference, Seifert said he had watched quite a bit of McCullum growing up.
“Yeah, obviously. I’d be lying if I said Baz wasn’t one of my heroes growing up,” Seifert later said, at his post-match press conference. “Obviously you try to be yourself out there, but I definitely have looked at Baz throughout my childhood.”
There were shades of McCullum to some of Seifert’s shots on Wednesday, particularly in the gallops down the track to the fast bowlers and the fast-hands slaps through cover point. There were also flourishes that were all his own, like a switch-hit boundary off Krunal Pandya’s left-arm spin.
“I kind of just looked at the field and, you know, it’s all in the moment. I don’t really practice it or anything, it’s just kind of in the spirit of it, but I just thought of his angle, and obviously got him slog-sweeping a couple of times, so I thought he maybe might slow it up. Yeah, it’s kind of a little punt you take, but it’s T20 cricket for you.”
Seifert’s runs have come at a crucial time for him, when New Zealand are exploring their wicketkeeping options for the World Cup later this year in England.
Seifert made his ODI debut in January, when New Zealand rested regular keeper Tom Latham for the home series against Sri Lanka. He got to bat twice in the three ODIs, making his entrance in the 45th over on both occasions and contributing 22 off 17 and 11 off 10 in two 300-plus totals.
When Latham returned for the ODIs against India, Seifert didn’t find a place in the squad.
With each team allowed a squad of only 15 players at the World Cup, taking a reserve keeper can sometimes become a luxury. New Zealand coach Gary Stead has recently spoken of the possibility that Henry Nicholls, who has rarely kept wicket at any level in recent years, could play that role behind Latham.
Seifert’s 84 may or may not have tilted the team management towards taking a specialist back-up keeper, but for now he isn’t worrying too much about the World Cup.
“I just go out, do what I do, and hey, if that gets me over the line, brilliant, you know, but still being young, you know, [I’ve] still got time on my side,” he said. “Don’t get me wrong, I want to be at this World Cup, but if I get there, fantastic, it’s a dream come true, but if it’s not then there are things to work on and get to the next one.”
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