Blackcaps vs Bangladesh: Craig McMillan has no time for reflection ahead of final test

Craig McMillan has no time for reflection, with a test match to be won.

The Blackcaps batting coach will step down after the Cricket World Cup later this year.

Saturday's test against Bangladesh will be the last red-ball match for McMillan before his departure, but memories won't be on his mind until the final ball is bowled.

"I haven't really reflected at this point," McMillan said on Thursday.

"I'm kind of in the now at the moment, preparing for a test match, so it's something I'll have a think about as the test winds down."

The 42-year-old has overseen a rapid rise for New Zealand as a test-match force, with the Blackcaps ranked number two in the world, behind only India.

Kane Williamson, Henry Nicholls, Tom Latham, Trent Boult, Tim Southee and Neil Wagner are all inside the world's top 10 in bowling and batting receptively, statistics that delight the former Blackcap.

"I'll miss that day-to-day banter with the boys, and seeing their development and success over the last few years has been awesome," McMillan said.

"People don't really get to see all the stuff that goes on behind the scenes to get guys to a point where they can perform at the international stage.

"As a coach, you see that development from the time they came into the set-up to where they are now in terms of world cricket and as a coach, that's really satisfying.

"I am very proud of where the guys are at. As a team, to reach number two in the test rankings is huge.

"Just look at some of the calibre of teams below us and you realise just how good that achievement is."

One player McMillan is excited to see in action is Will Young. The Central Stags skipper will make his test debut, if Kane Williamson fails a fitness test on Friday.

Young toured the UAE with the Blackcaps, without getting a run, while he has been part of the test-match squad all summer.

Williamson suffered a minor pectoral tear during the second test in Wellington and is unlikely to be risked on Christchurch if he isn't fully fit.

"Will Young is quietly hovering in the background," McMillan said. "I'm sure he hopes the skipper will play, but it'd be a pretty exciting time for him, if Kane doesn't pull through. 

"He will go through his work and if he gets the call, it's an opportunity for a guy who has been around our set-up for a while now to show what he can do."

Once the final ball has been bowled at Hagley Oval, McMillan and the Blackcaps will shift their focus towards June's Cricket World Cup in England.

Strangely, New Zealand won't play another full international one-dayer until their opening game of the tournament against Sri Lanka.

While some of international cricket's heavyweights are throwing ODI punches at each other around the globe, New Zealand are trying to wrap up a 3-0 test series win.

Although the timing of the series isn't ideal, McMillan is happy with how they are tracking towards cricket's showpiece event.

"We have known this schedule for some time," he said. "We have played a ton of ODI cricket over the summer, just not at the end of the summer.

"We have learnt a lot about our side over the summer. India showed as a couple of areas where we need to get better, but I think this is the most open World Cup in history.

"There are 6-7 teams with a real chance of winning. You have Afghanistan making serious strides with a couple of very talented young players - they will be a tricky opponent for any side.

"It's going to be an open and exciting tournament, because so many sides are capable of winning it.

"You know, with Australian at world tournaments, they are always going to be there or thereabouts, so don't be surprised if they are there, come the business end."


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