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World Cup 2011

McCullum keen to redress World Cup failures

Siddarth Ravindran in Chennai

February 14, 2011

Comments: 13 | Text size: A | A

Brendon McCullum speaks to the media after a practice session, Chennai, February 14, 2011
Brendon McCullum is happy to be opening again © AFP
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Players/Officials: Brendon McCullum | Scott Styris
Series/Tournaments: ICC Cricket World Cup
Teams: New Zealand

New Zealand seem to have settled on their batting order after much experimentation during the home summer, and Brendon McCullum has said he's thrilled to be opening again. It's the position from which he has won all his Man-of-the-Match awards, and the one from which he hopes to erase the blot of two poor World Cups, where he has squeezed out only 152 runs in 10 innings.

"The previous two World Cups I played down the order (where) you've got reasonably limited opportunities to create an impact," McCullum said at the end of a three-hour training session at the renovated MA Chidambaram stadium. "That's why I'm absolutely determined to play a role at the top of the order. Coming to India the best time to bat is when the ball is new."

New Zealand had pushed McCullum down the order for a few one-dayers against Pakistan last month, before restoring him back to the opener's slot towards the end of the series. "I think the whole process of our order and who is going to bat where and those sorts of things came from our selectors and now we have arrived in India and are pretty settled about what our line-ups going to be," McCullum said. "I've had four years of batting at the top of the order now, those two World Cups were rehearsals as well, it's all set up for this, and I will focus on trying to play some influential innings throughout the tournament."

The New Zealand top five for the World Cup is likely to be McCullum, Martin Guptill, Jesse Ryder, Ross Taylor and James Franklin. That means their current batsman with the most success in World Cups - Scott Styris, who has accumulated 767 runs at an average of nearly 70 - will come in as low as No. 6.

"I'm probably no different from everyone else in the team, we'll always like to bat as high as possible," Styris said. "As it stands, I'm batting six, which obviously for me isn't ideal, I would like to bat higher, but (that's what) John Wright and Dan Vettori want of me right now, so it's a role that I'm trying to do well, because it's around the second Powerplay closing out the innings."

One of the reasons for New Zealand's woeful run in one-dayers over the past year has been the brittle batting, but they have had encouraging signs in the past two matches, with Ryder's whirlwind century in the final game against Pakistan and Martin Guptill's 130 in Saturday's tune-up against Ireland powering the side to 300-plus totals. Styris said those scores were the result of new coach John Wright's input. "John's batting expertise has been the major thing that he has brought to the side so far. He's been great for the batters in the side because he's given them some clarity about how to go about their innings. We've got some tremendous strikers of the ball who are still learning how to build an innings since they are very young."

New Zealand fans will hope Wright's expertise and the re-jigged batting order spurs their side into reprising their familiar feat of beating expectations in big events.

Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Comments: 13 
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Posted by Brent on (February 15, 2011, 8:33 GMT)

Franklin deserves his position at 5. His impressive recent batting in india is a huge bonus. Im picking Ryder to be the dark horse of the tournament, He had a pretty awful series in NZ but when you look at his dismissals, a couple very unlucky and a couple just got cleaned up by absolute jaffas. Dont read too much into his recent bad patch. I'm loving Nathan Mccullums work lately as well, good Powerplay hitter. The only reservation I have is Oram. If you want to play him as a bowler then get one of our test bowlers in the side at 11 or give young Adam Milne a shot. NZs problem is that if 1 batsman falls then 4 or 5 follow in quick succession, otherwise they have the talent there to win the cup no doubt.

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 15, 2011, 3:18 GMT)

I agree with ZN, Franklyn is a great batsmen but Styris is still better up the order. I would actually push Franklyn to four and move Ross Taylor down the order. Oram shouldn't be in the 1st 11 because he's been out of the game for so long.

We do have the team to win, but doesn't mean we will.

Go Black Caps!!!!!!

Posted by Ed on (February 15, 2011, 2:18 GMT)

A lot of cricket fans are completely writing NZ off for this WC, but I doubt any of the other teams are taking NZ as lightly as their fans are. With our explosive batting and containing bowling, we could upset a few of the more fancied teams. (I hope...!)

Posted by Sam on (February 14, 2011, 20:54 GMT)

Very interesting to see how we go - I think we have the nucleus for a good team - we just need a little more maturity from our talented but impatient batsmen and a 'spearhead' bowler and it would be a very good side. Anything can happen in the world cup, and probably will.

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 14, 2011, 18:51 GMT)

Best of luck Blackcaps. Hope you draw inspiration from Crowe in 92, Allott in 99, And the old boy Styris in 07. India in 83 were completely written off before winning it, so lets do the same. Both McCullums are in my fantasy team; bring it on!

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 14, 2011, 18:42 GMT)

Hey Kuruwita, Yesterday you said the Blackcaps are pathetic because we only beat Ireland by 30runs, but then contradicted yourself by saying Ireland are good enough to beat WI, SA, Aus and India. You also said Bollinger, Tait and Johnson are rubbish, and today NZ is hopeless (worst NZ WC team ever). Sounds like you need a hug mate! How about something positive for a change, other than for your team.

Posted by Steve on (February 14, 2011, 17:47 GMT)

NZ success in WC depends primarily on their batting success. Brendon, Ross, Jesse and Styris with supporting acts from rest (Guptil, James, Vettori and Oram, if he can play). Bowling is more suited to sub-continent pitches. I wouldn't be surprised at all if they throw some punches and cause upsets against more fancied teams like, Ind, SA, Aus, Eng, SL.

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 14, 2011, 17:37 GMT)

hey darkferns, some teams have rougher patches than others. haha

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 14, 2011, 14:23 GMT)

I agree with zn. Styris and Franklin must swap slots. Franklin has often been performing below his potential.

Posted by Afra on (February 14, 2011, 13:43 GMT)

Kuruwita, the blackcaps are most definitely not hopeless, they're just going through a rough patch that's all. Who knows, this WC might be the time when they will bounce back. After all NZ has that uncanny knack of doing well in ICC tournaments.

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