- Kane Williamson refuses to focus on one England player ahead of the ODI series
- The New Zealand captain expects to be facing one of the world’s best ODI teams
- But the Kiwis also boast impressive form having won eight of eight this winter
While Eoin Morgan’s tourists prepare to welcome Stokes back, for his first international match since he was arrested outside a Bristol nightclub five months ago, Williamson is determined his team will concentrate on their own potential in Sunday’s one-day international at Hamilton’s Seddon Park.
The Kiwis’ strengths are substantial too, as demonstrated by their home ODI record this winter of played eight and won eight against West Indies and Pakistan.
New Zealand’s Kane Williamson is preparing to face one of the world’s best teams this week
The Kiwis captain says it would be foolish for them to focus on just one England player
England hit back from their Ashes disappointment, in Stokes’ absence, by beating Australia 4-1 in ODIs – so there is good reason for both teams to be highly respectful of the opposition.
Asked about the Stokes factor, Williamson said: ‘There are a number of quality match-winning players in the English side … (so) it’s tough to focus on one name.
‘They are very aggressive with the bat, and their balance is one of their biggest strengths with the number of all-rounders.
‘England are one of the best sides in one-day cricket at the moment, having just played against a strong Australian side and been so successful.
‘We know it’s a tough challenge, but one the guys are looking forward to.’
Ben Stokes has already been highlighted as a danger ahead of his return to the England side
Stokes is back in England’s team after missing the Ashes through off-the-field circumstances
Just last weekend at this venue, the Kiwis lost the battle but won the war when a two-run defeat to England was enough nonetheless to progress at the victors’ expense to a Twenty20 Tri-series final – in which Australia then prevailed in Auckland.
Williamson added: ‘We don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves.
‘There’s been some good one-day cricket played by our group, but we do know we’ll have to adapt to the opposition and the surfaces – which have been different throughout each venue.
‘The way (we’ve) been adapting to conditions, which have changed a lot, has been a real strength.’
Williamson is hoping New Zealand can weather the storm brought by the visitors