England team Captain Cook, not the eminent Sir Alastair, but the blind James first saw this north coast of New Zealand, he observed beaches, breakers, ferns, forests and fruits.
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The first test between New Zealand and England will take place at Mount Maunganui on a peninsula. The stadium is bordered on one side by Plenty Bay and on the other by the Pacific Ocean.
England played a one-day international match on this pitch – Hove’s home – only last year, when Joe Root, Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler of this team were involved.
England has twisted one of his best shows, but this will be his first test and much more than New Zealand. This shows how the Abondance Bay is one of the fastest growing areas of the country.
The Mount is one of New Zealand’s newest stores, one for coffee table books. Yet, in fact, the field itself is hardly more picturesque than the new Newport field where Glamorgan played in a championship game last summer.
What makes Mount Maunganui’s soil “iconic” is the view of Mt. Next week, at the end of a movie, a television camera will linger lovingly on the mountain, just over a mile away.
It was a Maori fort that is still covered with native vegetation and is also home to native birds, now that imported rats – one must blame Cook here, but not, of course, the flawless Alastair – have been exterminated.
A nice setting for the refreshed Root team to start their two-test series against New Zealand. They suggest spring growth, with so many new faces.
Captain Stokes, Buttler and Stuart Broad played 20 tests. Sam Curran, a 21-year-old nipper, will be the sixth most experienced in testing.
Sam Curran is part of the Surrey cohort, along with Rory Burns, Ollie Pope and beginner Dominic Sibley, who has moved to Warwickshire.
“Sibbers was with me at the Surrey Academy and Burnsy is our captain, so it’s very special to play with guys who are familiar faces,” said Curran.
“I think it’s a little easier to play with guys you grew up with. International cricket is an international cricket, but when you play with your friends and you stay in the field with guys you know well.
Things are bad, you can laugh and stay positive because you play with friends and it’s very fun.
I joined Surrey Academy at age 14 and that’s when I played Cranleigh where Popey was and Sibbers was at Whitgift.
I played against them throughout the academy until we were in the first team in Surrey. It’s a nice little friendship we have and I know the parents of Popey and Sibbers.
Burns is a few years older but has a vital role to play in Curran’s progress in this series. Burns is the new ball polisher and it’s hard to get Kookaburra’s ball out of the way. This is a difficult work.
“I think any bowler who plays kookaburra will say he prefers dukes but you have to learn somehow,” Curran said. “Broady says he’s been playing abroad for 10 years now and you have to learn to do it because every time you go on tour, that’s what you have.
The series will be long and difficult, and we will have to play together. Some days, you will not take counters but provided you hold on.
During both warm-ups, after his spell, Sam Curran almost rolled around the wicket. I do it quite often in county cricket, but probably more abroad, where the ball does not swing as much.
Trying to get the drummers to play a lot more to come around the wicket is just to find different ways. You must find ways; It’s a new thing for me to play with a red ball in New Zealand.
If these Surrey Cubs can quickly integrate with their elders, England cricketers could enjoy it.
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