Can unpredictable New Zealand spring a surprise? (World Cup Countdown)January 31st, 2011 - 3:49 pm ICT by IANS
By Abhishek Roy
New Delhi, Jan 31 (IANS) New Zealand will be returning to the subcontinent for the World Cup starting Feb 19 with the bitter experiences of a 4-0 thrashing in Bangladesh and 5-0 whitewash in the ODI series in India last year.Though New Zealand have ended their 11-match losing streak in style against Pakistan in the ongoing ODI series at home, it will be a big challenge for new coach John Wright to see the team qualify for their sixth semi-final in their 10th World Cup attempt.
Wright, who did wonders with the Indian team as coach and took them to the 2003 World Cup final in his illustrious five-year tenure, is no novice to the challenges in the subcontinent. The former New Zealand opener will be using the ODI series against Pakistan to find the perfect balance for the World Cup.
New Zealand are in Group A with three-time winners Australia, 1992 champion Pakistan, runners-up and favourites Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, Canada and Kenya. They will open their campaign Feb 20 against Kenya at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.
Led by spinner Daniel Vettori, New Zealand are a talented bunch but are also highly unpredictable as history suggests. The Kiwis have the potential to spring a surprise but can also surrender meekly.
The appointment of Wright in December as the chief coach and of Allan Donald, the legendary South African fast-bowler, as bowling coach will surely help the team, but the players too will have to rise to the occasion.
The inclusion of spinning all-rounder Luke Woodcock may also see New Zealand, who have always been depended heavily on pace attack, go with three spinners in a match.
Mark Greatbatch, New Zealand’s head selector, backed Woodock’s temperament and floated the possibility of playing three spinners - Woodcock, Vettori and Nathan McCullum.
“Luke Woodcock has worked hard for his chance after forging an impressive record with Wellington over a number of years,” Greatbatch said. “He has a good head on his shoulders and his selection provides the option of playing three spinners, which could be useful in the subcontinent.”
The tournament will also give a chance to hard- hitting batsmen Ross Taylor and Brendan McCullum to stake their claim as the successor of Vettori, who will step down after the World Cup. With the likes of left-handed Jesse Ryder, attacking Ross Taylor reliable Scot Styris and all-rounder Jacob Oram in the team, New Zealand’s batting strength will not be underestimated by the opponents.
In the fast bowling department, New Zealand will count on the experience of Kyle Mills and Tim Southee and the exuberance of young tearaway Hamish Bennett.
Squad: Daniel Vettori, Hamish Bennett, James Franklin, Martin Guptill, Jamie How, Brendon McCullum, Nathan McCullum, Kyle Mills, Jacob Oram, Jesse Ryder, Tim Southee, Scott Styris, Ross Taylor, Kane Williamson, Luke Woodcock.
Fixture: Feb 20 vs. Kenya (Chennai); Feb 25 vs. Australia (Nagpur); March 4 vs. Zimbabwe (Ahmedebad); March 8 vs. Pakistan (Pallekele, Sri Lanka); March 13 vs. Canada (Mumbai).
(Abhishek Roy can be contacted at email@example.com)
- Black Caps pick uncapped Woodcock in World Cup squad - Jan 19, 2011
- New Zealand include seven rookies among World Cup probables - Dec 22, 2010
- Tough for New Zealand to replicate success of 2007 (Preview) - Feb 19, 2011
- Both New Zealand and Australia have a point to prove (Preview) - Feb 24, 2011
- Black Caps boost batting line-up for Napier ODI - Jan 31, 2011
- James Franklin left out of New Zealand Cricket contract - Jul 01, 2011
- New Zealand to bat against Sri Lanka - Mar 29, 2011
- Black Caps move power hitters down the order for ODI against Pak - Jan 21, 2011
- Kenya opt to bat against New Zealand - Feb 20, 2011
- Vettori wins toss, New Zealand elect to bat - Mar 25, 2011
- Wright is the man with a World Cup plan for the Black caps - Feb 04, 2011
- New Zealand face daunting task against Sri Lanka (Preview) - Mar 28, 2011
- South Africa ahead on form, Kiwis count on Vettori (Preview) - Mar 24, 2011
- Styris, Jamie How recalled for ODI series against India - Nov 17, 2010
- Sri Lanka, New Zealand aim to end group stage on a high (Preview) - Mar 17, 2011
Tags: abhishek, bowling coach, chidambaram stadium, chief coach, coach john, daniel vettori new zealand, impressive record, kiwis, losing streak, mccullum, odi series, pace attack, perfect balance, rounder, spinners, talented bunch, time winners, whitewash, woodcock, world cup countdown