Southee embraces home support

The New Zealand players celebrate with the series trophy AFP

Players from almost every World Cup team have spoken about the primacy of the collective goal over individual ambition, but perhaps no team appears as positive and as unified as the New Zealand outfit. Over the past two months, they have been flaunting their regard for each other, backing one another in the field, stroking each other's egos in press conferences, and generally pushing at the boundaries of tasteful admiration and support for team-mates.

New Zealand's public has also joined the love-fest, embracing the side almost as if they were the All Blacks, though that process has been aided by New Zealand's recent ascent across all formats. Fast bowler Tim Southee said the team can do little more than love their public back, four days out from the tournament opener.

"It's great to have that public support, and I don't think you can help but embrace it," Southee said. "We've played some great cricket leading up to now. People are getting behind the brand of cricket that we're playing. I think it's an exciting brand. It's getting people to the grounds and, I guess, watching on TV.

"The World Cup is a chance to get the country right in behind us. We saw what happened with the All Blacks in the 2011 Rugby World Cup. That was great to be a part of as a rugby fan. Hopefully we can do our part as cricketers over the next two months, and enjoy and embrace what a special time it's going to be."

The public goodwill has largely been built upon two exceptional home summers, in which New Zealand have trounced India and Sri Lanka in Tests and ODIs, as well as defeated West Indies in Tests, both home and away.

"The last two summers have been a lot of fun to be part of," Southee said. "All three formats, we've had a lot of success. We speak a lot about it being the time of our lives, and the last couple of years have been great memories that will stick with the guys for a long time. Hopefully the next two months will as well.

A hallmark of New Zealand's success - particularly in recent months - has been the side's ability to find substantial contributions from virtually everywhere in their XI. In the ODIs against Sri Lanka, the attack continued to thrive even when team management was rotating bowlers through the series, and each of the regular top six crossed fifty at least once. Opener Martin Guptill had struggled at times in those matches, but had struck form with a fifty against Pakistan, and a century in the warm-up match against Zimbabwe on Monday.

"That's the sign of a good team," Southee said. "You're not relying on one or two guys to stand up. There's been different guys standing up over the last 18 months. It's testament to the team environment, and guys expressing themselves and doing well."

"At some stage everyone has had their chance to be a match winner. You're not relying on certain people. Every guy is going out there to be that person. You can't do it every day, but it's good to know that there is someone there to pick up the slack if someone can't. We saw that yesterday with the way Martin Guptill played. He's been training the house down, and for him go out and get those runs and that confidence bodes well."

New Zealand play South Africa at Hagley Oval in their final warm-up before the tournament, on Wednesday. Southee suggested New Zealand were chasing a good result in the game, despite its counting for little.

"We've played a lot of cricket and won a lot of cricket, so tomorrow it will be nice to tick off another one and move into Saturday with that winning momentum. I think there are things that have to be fine tuned. "