Bowl at Boycs February 28, 2013

'England can clean New Zealand up'

ESPNcricinfo staff
Geoff Boycott on why England's seamers could be too hot to handle for New Zealand's batsmen

ST: The first question is from Ashton in England about the series going on in New Zealand. He says: England's new-ball attack has impressed in the one-day series and Joe Root has looked superb as a batsman. England start favourites in the Tests but are there any areas in which you think New Zealand can pose a challenge?

GB: No. Man for man, England are far superior. If New Zealand are to shock England and win, I believe they have to play out of their skin, or they have to look at the weather conditions that affect the pitch and give New Zealand a big advantage, or England have to get complacent and bat very badly.

I watched New Zealand recently in South Africa. During the Test matches I was surprised by their poor batting technique against, let it be said, high-quality South African seam bowling.

England have quality bowlers. James Anderson is a superb craftsman, and Steven Finn, off a new, shorter, run, is very accurate, with great height and a tall, high action. He's been getting the ball at pace at an awkward height at the batsmen in the one-dayers. If he gets pitches with any bit of help in terms of pace and bounce, it's going to cause enormous problems for them. If they pick a slow and low type of pitch that we keep playing on, then the bounce, or the lack of bounce, will help the New Zealand batsmen contend with him. But if there is any bounce or pace, England can clean them up.

I haven't seen anything in the New Zealand bowling to concern England. I'm quite aware that New Zealand, at the moment, have one high-quality cricketer in Brendon McCullum, the captain. I think he is a very top-class cricketer. They are lucky to have Ross Taylor back - he is a good batsman. But having said that, New Zealand are going through a period without any high-end players. In the past they have had players like Richard Hadlee and Martin Crowe, who made a difference in the side. This set of players is very good, hard-working; they are decent cricketers. But for a country - I always say this - of five million people, they are doing splendid. But just at this moment, they are a more average side. They work hard, they'll compete hard, they are very good competitors, they'll field very well. But really, in terms of ability and technique, I would expect England to win.