New Zealand’s Finn Allen heaped praise on Virat Kohli, but had special words for Suryakumar Yadav and called him ‘incredible’.
Two days before he blasted a 16-ball 42 to set the base for New Zealand’s crushing win over Australia in the first Super-12 match of the T20 World Cup, Finn Allen did not even know if he was playing that game. However, by the time the match ended, Allen was making headlines everywhere. The impact of his innings was such that it even overshadowed his opening partner Devon Conway’s 92 off 58 balls. Allen tore into Australia’s fabled pace trio of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins with an attack that stunned the former defending champions. He smacked Starc for 14 off the first over, Cummins for 17 in the third. Australia were rattled, and could never recover from there.
In the side as a replacement for Martin Guptill, Allen, 23, is seen as the next big-hitting BlackCaps opener, his style reminiscent of the swashbuckling Brendon McCullum. With New Zealand cricket entering the early stages of their transition period, Allen is being spoken of highly by her peers, including captain Kane Williamson. Boasting a strike-rate of over 129 in white-ball cricket, Allen has already played a few sizzling knocks since making his New Zealand debut early last year. A T20I century against Scotland and a blazing fifty against
Pakistan in Christchurch later, Allen was on the flight to Australia.
As the younger crop of players begin to take over, New Zealand have shown faith in Allen, and are likely to be persisted with despite the odd failure, like the one against India in Mount Maunganui, where he was out second ball of the innings. Regardless, Allen is clear in the way wants to bat for the BlackCaps – with aggression. Having grown up idolising a former maverick batsman from England, Allen opened up on his style, where it comes from and how he sees himself fit into that role.
“I guess the role, where it came from was, I have always idolised Kevin Pietersen growing up and watching him play his brand of cricket. Sort of wanting to take the game on and be really positive came a bit from him. The opportunity to do that coming into the Wellington team a couple of years ago and getting the opportunity in the T20 side,” Allen told speed sport news in an exclusive chat during the India vs New Zealand series.
“Honestly, I got told a couple of days ago before the game started. Didn’t know if I was even going to be playing. Told me I was going to open for the team. I think it was just a spot that was available in the side and there was a place to get me in. They just allowed me to have the freedom of playing however I wanted to. I was like why not? Take the game on and be aggressive. Most people would agree that trying to hit sixes and boundaries and consistently go out there aggressively is a pretty enjoyable way to play and it’s certainly one that I enjoy. So yeah, I want to stick to playing that brand of cricket.”
Allen weighed in on the challenge of facing the Indian team, mentioning how despite missing the star power of some of the more established stars, the Men in Blue are a unit filled with match-winners. The New Zealand opener reserved special praise for young left-arm quick Arshdeep Singh, who in just five months has become the team’s go-to bowler in India’s young T20I setup. For the second time in two years, India and New Zealand could have highlighted the final of an ICC tournament, where the Allen vs Arshdeep battle could have made for a riveting contest, but the McLean Park in Napier on Tuesday wouldn’t be that bad a venue either.
“They are missing a few players and they still seem to come out with a lot of depth and some seriously quality players. It is a slightly different look to what we saw in the World Cup. But their bowling strength is top. They have got three guys in this series who can swing it both ways which is always pretty tough for any batter to combat. The way Arshdeep set the World Cup alight was pretty cool to watch not having to play against. So we are certainly looking forward to that challenge. And then obviously their batting strength. They’ve got X-Factor after X-Factor in their order. They are a pretty exciting side,” mentioned Allen.
Allen looked up to Pietersen as a child, but he presently holds Virat Kohli in the highest regard. The New Zealand batter, like many more, was thrilled watching Kohli back to his sublime best following a slump in form, and the fact that the former India captain emerged as the second-highest run-scorer in the Asia Cup and finished as the leading run-getter in the World Cup reaffirms Allen and so many others’ faith in the star India batter. However, as much as Kohli remains an inspiration to the dynamic New Zealand batter, it is Suryakumar Yadav that Allen ‘loves watching’, someone he got to witness up close Sunday evening at the Bay Oval.
“In terms of guys that I admire, obviously the way Virat has gone about. He had a little bit of a tough time of late, and then to come out the way he has in the last few months and persevered through those challenges is very admirable. Just seeing him overcome that and finish the World Cup as the top run scorer for his country. I really love watching Surya (Kumar Yadav) play. He is the No. 1 batter in the world at the moment and for good measure, I think. He is incredible. Some of the shots he plays are out of this world and he is someone I would strive to be like for sure,” added Allen.