Playing England Soon After World Cup Does Bring Back Memories: Jimmy Neesham
Jimmy Neesham and Martin Guptill fell agonizingly short in the World Cup final against England earlier in the year, and against England, at Wellington, Neesham returned to the team for the first time since. In between he played in the T20 leagues in Canada and the Caribbean.
He strode out to a warm reception which afforded him concern and he responded with a powerhouse knock of 42 in New Zealand's 21-run victory in the second Twenty20 international at Westpac Stadium.
"I was almost thankful in the end not to be over there [the next tour in Sri Lanka] because I don't know how those Test guys got back into it so quickly," Neesham told Stuff.co.nz.
"That World Cup will always be part of the fabric of my career but it's certainly not something I'm hoping defines my career. Don't think it's about getting over it, it's just accepting it," Neesham said.
"Obviously playing England again so soon brings up those questions again. And, really, it was a phenomenal effort in that tournament, you can still be proud of the efforts of all the guys on the field. That's what counts and we'll draw a line and go on."
For Neesham, who fell out of love with the game, the next target is ensuring selection for the T20 World Cup, which means he might have to adapt to a different role – much like in Wellington – as a finisher.
"I want to play every game I can for New Zealand. I just ticked over 29 and I'm at the stage of my career where I feel like I've started to get things together."
Neesham, who faced 22 of the 37 remaining deliveries after arriving in the middle, survived when James Vince dropped a thunderbolt on the boundary, and made England pay by swatting four sixes.
"When you try to hit at the death at T20 you don't want to leave guys like Tim Southee and Mitch Santner to do the lion's share of the work in the last 2-3 overs.
"We talked about trying to bridge that gap. It was difficult to hit classical boundaries along the ground, on that ground, and it was just about picking a moment and a bowler to pull the trigger."
Neesham will get another go at building on the momentum on November 5 when they play England in the deciding T20I in Nelson.