New Zealand not reading much into Australia's slump, says Tim Southee

Tim Southee says it will be tough for any side to replace great players © Getty Images

Birmingham: Jun 12, 2013

New Zealand seamer Tim Southee said on Tuesday that his side would take nothing for granted when they faced Australia in the Champions Trophy at Edgbaston.

The Black Caps come into the Group A clash on the back of a nail-biting one-wicket win over Sri Lanka whereas defending champions Australia, who beat New Zealand in the 2009 final, suffered a 48-run loss to hosts England at Edgbaston last week.

Australia will again be without captain Michael Clarke as the star batsman continues to struggle with the latest recurrence of his long-standing back injury.

New Zealand have doubts, too, over the fitness of veteran left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori, who ended a lengthy lay-off with an Achilles injury against Sri Lanka.

Vettori will be re-assessed on Wednesday — all-rounder Grant Elliott has already been ruled out with a tight calf — but New Zealand showed they could triumph without their former captain in a recent 2-1 one-day series win over England.

New Zealand, who have not played an ODI against Australia since a defeat at the 2011 World Cup in Nagpur, have lost five out of their last seven matches at this level against their trans-Tasman rivals.

“We know that they’re a good side, and there’s the whole rivalry between New Zealand and Australia that sort of both sides tend to lift a little bit when you play against each other,” Southee said at Edgbaston on Tuesday.

With the likes of Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Adam Gilchrist, Justin Langer, Matthew Hayden and, more recently, Ricky Ponting, having retired in recent years, Australia are not the intimidating force of old.

“I think you have to understand that the players that left were exceptional, and you’re not going to replace  them overnight,” said Southee, who made a crucial 13 not out against Sri Lanka said.

“But they’ve still got some great players; you look at [Shane] Watson and [David] Warner, and on their day they can tear a side apart, and their bowlers, someone like Clint McKay, who’s got a great one day record.”

Having seen the team win one-day series in both South Africa and England, the 24-year-old Southee was confident New Zealand were making progress.

“We’ve shown glimpses in the last six months of what we are capable of, the one day series win in South Africa against them and then also the series win over here against England is a massive step in the right direction.”

Wednesday’s match promises to be particularly special for New Zealand-born ex-Australia wicket-keeper and batsman Luke Ronchi, now representing the Black Caps having grown up in Perth, Western Australia.

The 32-year-old’s best score in four ODI innings for New Zealand is 22 but Southee said: “I don’t think he has to prove himself to us.

“We know he’s a good player. He’s turned out a truckload of runs in domestic cricket since he’s been in New Zealand.

“Obviously he’s had a taste at an international level and hasn’t come off with a bat yet, but the job he’s done with the gloves has been exceptional. Hopefully, it can flow over to his batting.”