Adam Milne felt like he was making his debut again as he returned to international cricket after two and a half years on Tuesday. Multiple injuries, including a stress fracture on his ankle, had kept the New Zealand fast bowler sidelined since November 2018, and he only got back to playing competitive cricket earlier this year at the BBL for Sydney Thunder.
In Napier, Milne had figures of 2 for 34 from his three overs, picking up the wickets of Mahmudullah and Afif Hossain as New Zealand overpowered Bangladesh to clinch the T20I series.
“It was really cool, really special,” Milne said. “It almost felt like it was a debut in a way, after so much time off. There was plenty of nerves, it was really cool to be back wearing the black jersey. I think there’s nerves in any cricket match. It is part and parcel of playing the game. You always want to go out there and do well.”
Now that the first step is out of the way, Milne is hoping to make it to the New Zealand side for the T20 World Cup later this year in India. He was eager to brush up on bowling in subcontinent conditions and considered his upcoming stint with Mumbai Indians in the IPL as the ideal opportunity to do so.
“You want to be a part of any ICC tournament for New Zealand,” Milne said. “I have played the T20 World Cup before in India. It is definitely a goal. For that I have to keep on the park and play some good cricket.
“Any time you get to play in those conditions that the World Cup is in, it is a huge positive. You have to play well in different conditions in different countries. India is completely different to what we have here, so we have to bowl differently with different plans.”
Milne said that he was excited at the prospect of perhaps playing alongside fellow fast bowler Lockie Ferguson. “Having guys who bowl really fast is really exciting. England have had (Jofra) Archer and (Mark) Wood and they have done well together, bowling fast. I would love to bowl with Lockie (Ferguson) at some stage.”
While Milne felt like the Napier was like his debut, young Finn Allen is actually still taking his first steps into international cricket. Allen got out for a first-ball duck in Hamilton, but he got off the mark with a reverse-swept four on Tuesday, showcasing that his confidence was unaffected.
New Zealand batting coach Luke Ronchi said he was happy to see Allen bat the way he naturally does even at this high level. Allen was the top run-getter in the Super Smash, with 521 runs at an astounding 193.93 strike-rate. In Napier, Allen made 17 off 10 balls with two fours and a 95-metre six off Taskin Ahmed.
“We didn’t plan it that way [the reverse sweep],” Ronchi said. “But that’s the way that he has been batting domestically. His job is to go out and hit a cricket ball. It doesn’t matter if it is domestic or international cricket. It is what he does best. You want him to be doing what he is doing recently. We are happy if he has got a big smile on his face.
“It is a dream come true to play international cricket. It is his second game. It didn’t quite work out the way he wanted in the first game, so for him to go out there and still be care-free, it is really pleasing.”
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84
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