Wellington: England seamer James Anderson admitted Monday that a tropical storm battering New Zealand would affect preparations for this week’s first Test, but was looking forward to an “exciting” series once the weather abates.
New Zealand host the first of a two-Test series against England in Mount Maunganui where heavy rain is forecast, though the storm is predicted to have cleared by the start of the day-night, pink-ball encounter on Thursday afternoon.
“It’s not that different to England, to be honest,” Anderson joked as heavy rain and high winds lashed Mount Maunganui’s Bay Oval ground.
“We have a cover over the nets, but it’s going to be tricky to get out in the middle and see the wicket.”
The storm grounded flights in and out New Zealand’s largest airport in Auckland on Monday, hitting travel plans of arriving England fans.
“We are aware of how hard it is to travel at the minute, given the situation in Auckland and the amount of rain in the next few days isn’t going to help,” said Anderson, England’s all-time leading wicket-taker.
“We are appreciative of all the supporters who follow us around and New Zealand is probably as far (away) as you can go.”
England have been buoyed by nine wins in 10 Tests since New Zealander Brendon McCullum took charge as head coach and New Zealand-born Ben Stokes was made captain and arrived on the back of a 3-0 series win in Pakistan.
Anderson said England, who have been playing swashbuckling cricket under the new captain and coach, dubbed “Bazball”, would continue to “take the positive option” when the series begins.
“They are a difficult team to beat and the wickets here are normally very good,” Anderson said. “We expect a tough two games. We could see some high scores and exciting cricket.”
The plans of some players have been hit by the weather.
England seam bowler Ollie Robinson changed his family’s flights to avoid the anticipated peak of the storm on Monday night.
“We will take it as it comes, if we don’t train before Thursday, we have had a good prep and we’re ready to go,” Robinson said.
Five New Zealand players were unable to join the Black Caps on Monday because of the weather or personal circumstances.
Heavy rain delayed Blair Tickner and Will Young, who drove by car from Napier. Henry Nicholls is now due to arrive in Mount Maunganui on Tuesday after his Christchurch flight was cancelled.
Matt Henry remains in Christchurch awaiting the birth of his first child while Tom Blundell is in Wellington after the birth of his second child.