The New and Improved: Tim Southee

Bringing to you the third in the Black Cap Series for Pakpassion: A chat with Tim Southee, a bowler who has lifted his game recently, sits down to discuss the revitalization in his bowling, what catches his fancy in the world of Cricket and how he is in the same boat as many Pakistani fans when it comes to Misbah’s batting

Southee has enjoyed his outings against Pakistan off late

You have been a new bowler these past couple of seasons. What do you think are the main reasons for this transition towards the better?

I think it’s just a whole lot of things that I have been working on over the past couple of years that have come good at the right time. A couple of good performances have helped in boosting my confidence and that coupled with the hard work I have been putting in has helped in bringing in the turn around, and I was pretty pleased at the way the season ended last year.

We have seen a few fast bowlers going the just T20/ODI route to extend their careers and prevent injury? Any such thoughts floated through your mind?

In terms of importance Test Cricket is certainly the pinnacle of the sport and there is no greater satisfaction than performing well in a Test match, at least personally that is what I think. I enjoy playing the other two formats as well and hopefully since I am still young I have a few years playing all three formats for N.Z.

Your performances against Pakistan have been noteworthy, especially in the last two series, any particular reasons?

No I don’t think it has much to do with the opposition. It’s just as I said my work with the bowling coaches and the effort I have been putting in off the field has started to show and it all sort of came together last season.

Who did you enjoy watching growing up as an aspiring fast bowler?

I always enjoyed watching Andrew Flintoff and Glen McGrath. I think those two would be my idols.

You have gained an extra tick or two on the speed gun off late. A lot of up and coming fast bowlers are interested in adding a bit of steam to their bowling. What is it that you have worked on?

It’s a combination of things I think. Worked a lot on fitness and have lost some extra baggage so that has helped. Apart from that just worked on my run up and trying to hit the deck harder than before, like Flintoff. Have worked with a few bowling coaches as well which has helped. Shane Jurgensen from Australia and of course Allan Donald. Allan had some good advice to give and it’s a shame really that he couldn’t be around longer with us.

The Australia tour is just around the corner. How do you see your bowling shaping up?

Looking forward to playing on those tracks especially the Gabba pitch is always fun for fast bowlers. It was good fun last time around in 08 and of course with the whole trans Tasmanian rivalry every body seems to lift their game a bit. Hopefully we can cause a few upsets and set the summer up nicely for our home games later on.

You bowled quite well in the World Cup. How do you adjust to bowling on flatter tracks which offer less purchase for fast bowlers and where do you personally enjoy bowling?

The tours prior to the World Cup to Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India were key in my mind. Even though the results were not favorable they helped in getting adjusted to those conditions before the World Cup took place. You have to play it smart and get used to the conditions there. Adding a bit of variety to your bowling and field placements play a big hand as well. Personally I love bowling in Eng and the U.K where there is seam and bounce for the fast bowlers.

A bowling spell so far that sticks out as memorable?

The Test Debut of course is always some thing special and getting five on debut will always remain a fond memory. The Gabba test of ‘08 where I got four on the first day and three in the first session is also some thing I cherish a lot. Limited overs Cricket wise the 5-18 in the T20 against Pakistan and then my first five-wicket haul in ODIS against them I enjoyed as well.

Who is an absolute nightmare to bowl at?

I look up to the challenge of bowling against quality players and feel like as a bowler you give that much extra when you are up against class acts like Ponting, Tendulkar, Mohammad Yousuf, Dravid. I guess of all the batsmen I have bowled to Tendulkar is the one that really sticks out. I haven’t looked like getting him out and as a bowler that is a worry when you can’t think of many ways to dismiss your opponent.

Who are the Pakistani players that you have relished playing against? And those who have gotten under your skin at times.

Watching Shoaib Akhtar run in and bowl 150+ is always fun so he is some one whose bowling I have always admired.

Misbah annoys you as a bowler at times because we couldn’t seem to get him out for any thing less than fifty the last time he was here. He is a great batsman but tends to get under your skin the way he plays, but I think that’s more credit to his game and us not being able to get him out more than any thing else.

Interview Originally conducted for Pakpassion 

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