The Black Caps, the first world test winners, have developed a culture in which they battle for one another rather than for themselves, according to coach Gary Stead.
Photo: Photosport Ltd
The Black Caps won the inaugural World Test Championship in Southampton Sunday, defeating India by an innings and a wicket.
After an unbroken 96-run stand with skipper Kane Williamson, who finished unbeaten on 52, veteran batsman Ross Taylor (47 not out) struck the winning runs for the Black Caps.
Despite losing two full days to rain and having additional playing days delayed by the bad weather in Southampton, Stead told Nine to Noon that the Black Caps were not giving up on obtaining a result.
He said pitches in the UK could deteriorate very quickly, and the Black Caps did not want to chase too big a target on the last day, however, the bowlers took early Indian wickets “and we were very clinical in the way we played out there”.
Stead said watching the Black Caps seal the title against the odds was incredible.
“It’s a pretty, I guess, special and amazing achievement for the team to achieve what they have but we also appreciate those who have come before us and I guess put in the hard yards for New Zealand as well.”
There were hugs, happiness and tears after Taylor scored the winning runs, he said.
“To come right down to that very very last moment was pretty amazing, pretty special and also to think that little New Zealand again can beat the power and might of India is a very special thing for us.”
Photo: Photosport Ltd
Despite two full days being lost to rain and other playing days disrupted by the poor weather in Southampton, Stead said the Black Caps did not give up on getting a result.
Listen to the full interview on Nine to Noon
He agreed there was a strong culture within the squad which had been built up over a long period of time with all members buying in to the aim of putting the team ahead of themselves.
“As long as you, I guess, live those behaviours and are really really true to them, it shows you don’t have to be the biggest dog but as long as you have the biggest fight in you – that’s the key thing.”
Stead said the squad has depth with several contenders waiting in the wings to take their place in the team.
The key to building a strongly performing unit had been keeping emotions on the same level and trying to improve every day.
“We’re really conscious of trying to get better all the time and not overly focusing on results but just enjoying the moment we’re in and making sure we really learn from all our experiences.”
During his tenure as coach, Stead has faced criticism which he dismissed as “white noise”.
“The game’s not about me, it’s about the players… my focus is on the people in the team here when we’re together. I know hand on heart the job I do and the effort that goes into it… all the people who are part of the team are very very special to me.”
Winning the inaugural World Test Championship would be especially sweet for fans disappointed by the narrow defeat in the world one-day championship two years ago, however, the latest title was even tougher to win over a two-year period, he said.
“That’s what makes this a very very special moment.”
Test matches are very hard to win requiring a lot of skill from a lot of people over a long period of time, Stead said, and both the team and himself regarded them as the premium form of cricket.