Hamilton, Nov 26 (IANS) New Zealand batting coach Luke Ronchi was in awe of left-handed batter Tom Latham's stunning 145 against India in the first ODI at Eden Park, Auckland, saying that the wicketkeeper-batter's professionalism and mindset comes in the limelight when he does things like what happened on Friday.
In chasing a daunting 307, New Zealand were in trouble at 88/3 in 19.5 overs. But Latham, took the game away from India, hitting an inexperienced bowling attack all over the park to end up unbeaten on a career-best score of 145 off 104 balls, laced with 19 fours and five sixes.
But it was his 25-run onslaught on Shardul Thakur in the 40th over, where one six and four boundaries were hit, apart from reaching the three-figure mark, which firmly tilted the match in New Zealand's favour.
'He knows how to get himself in first, and that's a big skillset whether you are three for nothing or three for lot, you still have to pace your innings in that sort of way. Tom's professionalism and mindset is what comes to the forefront when he does those things. His running between the wickets and just the intensity, attitude you have at the start of the innings, he does it really well,' said Ronchi to reporters before the second ODI on Sunday.
With New Zealand having played a majority of T20 action, it meant that Latham didn't get much international matches to play. But he brushed aside all those doubts in scintillating fashion, stitched an unbeaten 221-run stand off 165 balls with skipper Kane Williamson, who remained not out on 94.
'We have only played a handful of ODI cricket in a long time. So, to come back in the first game and say well he hasn't played that many games in the Eden Park, to go out there and play an innings like that it was just fantastic.'
'The situation when he came in and all of the cliche things to say when he goes out to play that way and show that emotion from a person who isn't a massive emotion sort of person when it comes to that, it was really cool to see that how much it means for someone and doing what he is doing for the team as always. So, it was nice to see that,' added Ronchi.
Ronchi pointed out that as a member of the New Zealand support staff, he has the best seat in the stadium to watch knocks like Latham dished out against India. 'From my point of view, I get a nice seat to watch when he goes to trainings and when you throw balls in those sessions.'
'You can see the calmness already and when he entered from ball one last night, you can see that calmness in what he wanted to do and how he would do it. It's an absolute pleasure to sit back and watch an innings like that.'
Ronchi also had words of appreciation for senior pacer Tim Southee, who got his 200th ODI scalp, becoming the fifth bowler from New Zealand to achieve the landmark. 'He's just massive in every form. Like, the stats say, the first person to get 100, 200, 300 wickets in every form. What he has done for New Zealand cricket over the years, his consistency just stands out.'
'He's someone who will go out there and no matter how he is feeling or what is going on, he will put in as much as he could possibly put in and get there to do that, just like how he became the fifth person to get 200 ODI wickets for New Zealand. It's a fantastic achievement and he's certainly not yet done.'
Ronchi signed off by saying ODI cricket allows the teams to have the flexibility of catching up in any stage of the match. 'The guys sort of understand, again the conditions make a big difference. You can catch up (in ODIs) as you can give yourself more time and it's 50-overs, so I think it's like in T20 cricket, sometimes you get to Eden Park and see you want a score upwards of 200.'
'So, in ODIs, you get twice as many overs to bat to get another 100 runs in that time. You can always catch up as you got that total up your sleeve to get your innings going or pace your innings like that. It was just a fantastic chase in the game for us.'