Dubai: The World T20 final against Australia is set to give Kiwi wicketkeeper-batsman Tim Seifert the big break on Sunday - but not quite the way he would have wanted. The freak injury to Devon Conway, when he hit his bat after getting stumped in that see-saw semi-final against England, ended his World Cup campaign.
Such instances, however, are not unheard of across sport. Fast bowlers have broken down with a sudden hamstring pull during nets ahead of the first session of a Test match or worse still, got injured during a round of football for warm-up.
Seifert, of course, had an up-and-down run in his World T20 campaign so far. He played in the Black Caps’ opening loss against Pakistan but batted down the order, with Daryl Mitchell preferred as Martin Guptill’s opening partner.
When the Kiwi head coach Gary Stead reshuffled his pack as he wanted to unleash his pace battery against India and was looking for a spot to bring in Adam Milne, Seifert had to make way - and he’s remained on the sideline ever since. “It’s very unfortunate for Devon, we’re gutted for him, but at the end of the day sometimes that’s sport and little things like that happen,’’ Seifert told New Zealand Cricket.
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“As a player I’m ready to go, and I’m very excited to be playing – hopefully – in the World Cup final. It’s a dream come true,” said the 26-year-old.
Seifert has, since his international debut in 2018, failed to consolidate his place in the squad regularly despite being an accomplished name in the world of franchise cricket. Things may hopefully improve from here onwards for him as BJ Watling, the rock of New Zealand’s five-day side, quit after the World Test Championship in June and Conway and Seifert are expected to take turns for wicketkeeping responsibilities across formats.
There was quite a poignant moment in Black Caps’ optional training session on Friday night where Conway could be seen helping Seifert prepare, his right hand wrapped in a cast.
The more one looks at the resilience of this Kiwi side, it leaves one impressed. For a side short on so-called star power, they were dealt a bodyblow when their express fast bowler Lockie Ferguson was ruled out with a Grade 2 calf injury before the tournament and Milne was drafted in. The thick of the tournament saw Guptill playing with a broken toe and now, they have lost Conway - who had been a revelation for New Zealand cricket this year.
If Seifert plays a big hand in the final, it can be quite the icing on the cake for them!