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January 17, 2013
Fast bowler Kyle Mills believes New Zealand are ready to move on from their crushing defeats in the Test series against South Africa, and test their skills in the shorter format of the ODIs, in which they hope to do better being a 'quality white-ball unit'.
"I think we do have a common respect around the world of cricket that we are a quality white-ball unit. So hopefully, we can produce those sorts of performances that have given us that respect, and produce them to good effect in the coming three games," Mills said before the first ODI in Paarl.
"In the one-day format, we've generally been pretty good. [We've reached] semi-finals of major tournaments all around the world. We're under no illusions, it's going to be a tough task. South Africa are No.1 in the world, they're a quality unit. We've to play exceptionally well in all facets of the game, and if we produce those sort of performances, probably we can get a result."
They reached the semi-finals of the World Cup in 2011. But they have been poor in the last 12 months in the format. They were only successful against Zimbabwe at the start of 2012, after which they lost at home to South Africa, and were comprehensively defeated in their tours of the West Indies and Sri Lanka.
However, towards the end of their tour of Sri Lanka, their fast bowling looked effective. Their attack consists of Trent Boult, Neil Wagner and Mitchell McLenaghan - who shone in the Twenty20 series in this tour - besides Mills, who has had a fruitful Plunket Shield season so far, taking 14 wickets in three matches.
"I'm pleased with my form. I've had the luxury of playing against the South African team quite a number of times, [so I've] reasonably set my plans for most of their experienced batters."
With the absence of Ross Taylor, New Zealand's batting rests in the hands of Brendon McCullum, Martin Guptill and Kane Williamson. Grant Elliott, back in the side after two years, was brought in for the one-day leg.
"My comeback has probably come a little bit sooner that I thought," Elliott said. "I was eyeing the one-day series back home in New Zealand, the Ford Trophy, for the last half of the season. But, really happy that it's come now."
Also, it has come in South Africa, where he was born and played cricket till 2001.
"It is quite weird, you know. Having met some people that I recognise from ten years ago when I was here. But to be playing cricket here as well where you grow up as a youngster, you want to be playing for South Africa and as things change in life, you're now playing for New Zealand against South Africa, so I think you lift probably a little bit more with your game because you want to prove a point."
The first of the three-match series begins on Saturday.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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A collection of fine cricket writing on great cricket feats, and never mind the omissions
Plays of the Day from the first ODI between South Africa and India in Johannesburg