Matt Henry thrives as New Zealand's boy from nowhere

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Melbourne, Mar 26: Matt Henry was celebrating a cousin's engagement when he was summoned to play at the World Cup and the New Zealand fast bowler admitted he is still pinching himself.

World Cup Special

The 23-year-old was called into the squad when Adam Milne was forced to withdraw with a heel injury and he was pitched straight into Tuesday's dramatic semi-final win over South Africa.

Henry thrives as NZ's boy from nowhere

"It's pretty hard to believe, you've got to pinch yourself," said Henry as he prepared to play in front of 90,000 fans at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Sunday's final.

"It's an unbelievable opportunity to have. It's unfortunate for Adam, it's not the situation you want to be in but it's the nature of the beast."

Henry, who had been playing first class cricket with Canterbury in front of a handful of fans last week, vowed not to be overawed by the challenge in Sunday's final where the Black Caps will face either defending champions India or co-hosts Australia.

"To go from a Plunkett Shield game with not too many people being about, to everyone screaming your name at Eden Park (the Auckland venue for Tuesday's semi-final) was a bit of a contrast," said Henry, who has never played at the MCG.

"It felt like 90,000 at Eden Park. We've got plenty of Kiwis here, I'm sure it won't be an issue. "It's about focussing on your processes. You're playing cricket. Nothing changes."

Henry praised the influence of skipper Brendon McCullum both on and off the field. "As Brendon keeps reiterating, this is the best time of our lives, it's not to be daunted and to be scared of," he said.

"It's a time to enjoy, embrace and soak up. We're all excited, it's great to be here with such a great bunch of people."

Henry said he wasn't planning to watch Australia play India in Thursday's others semi-final, preferring instead to tour Melbourne's stores with his girlfriend. "I've got a bit of shopping to do," he said. "We'll all be doing our things, but we'll sit down together at one point."


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