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Heather Knight calls for England to be more 'ruthless' in ODIs against New Zealand

Shrubsole to miss at least first two games with ankle injury, Tahuhu in contention for series opener

Valkerie Baynes
Valkerie Baynes
Heather Knight wants to see a more ruthless England take on New Zealand in their five-match ODI series starting in Bristol on Thursday.
While the hosts won their T20I series 2-1, starting with an emphatic victory at Chelmsford, they failed to defend a below-par total of 127 for 7 in dropping the second match at Hove and only managed to scrape home with one ball remaining in the decider.
"I want us to be really ruthless in this series," Knight said. "Potentially there's a few games where we weren't super ruthless or maybe got out when we were in charge of the game or didn't finish and close out innings with the ball.
"So I think as a team, when we're on top we need to make sure we're really pushing home that advantage and being really ruthless as a side and making sure we're continuing to keep our standards really high as a group.
"We start fresh as well, I think it was good that we were tested in that T20 series. Now we go into a new series and we want to start that series really well against a good New Zealand team."
The last time these two sides met in an ODI, New Zealand secured a consolation victory in the third and final match in Dunedin in February.
England will be without experienced seamer Anya Shrubsole, who sprained her ankle at training and was on crutches during the third T20I in Taunton last week, for at least the first two one-day matches.
"She's not fit for selection," Knight said. "I think the plan is to try and aim for the third ODI. She had a bit of a fall on it and a little bit of ligament damage but they're hoping that she's going to be back towards the back end of the series."
In Shrubsole's absence - she did not feature in either of the two T20s before she suffered the injury either - Tash Farrant played all three matches against New Zealand, while Freya Davies stepped into the second match for Katherine Brunt, who experienced some soreness after the first game but has since recovered.
Farrant and Davies are part of the ODI squad, which also includes offspinner Charlie Dean, who was also in the T20 squad and is poised to make her international debut.
"We've got Charlie Dean, new into the ODI squad, who we want to have a little bit of a look at," said Knight, who has already flagged the possibility of rotating players throughout the series, which will take place in five different cities in the space of 11 days.
"It's about balancing," Knight said. "Obviously we want to win and put out a really strong team and be ready for what we've got coming up next year and also trying to look to the future a little bit. You're always trying to manage that balance a little bit and trying to manage where players are at as well with the schedule that is pretty manic."
Meanwhile, Sophie Devine, the New Zealand captain, confirmed that fast bowler Lea Tahuhu was in contention to play the first ODI, having recently undergone surgery to remove a pre-cancerous mole on her foot.
"She's been absolutely chomping at the bit to get back into the starting XI," Devine said. "She's trained very well, she's certainly kept us all on our toes in the nets which is great to see, so if she gets the nod for the first game tomorrow it's going to be an exciting time for us."
The match marks an important phase of World Cup preparations for both sides. Before their title defence begins in New Zealand in March, England are due to contest the Ashes in Australia and before that - in October - they are scheduled to tour Pakistan for the first time.
"I think there's a security update due very soon," Knight said on the Pakistan trip, which coincides with the England men's planned white-ball tour and feature double-headers for two T20Is in Rawalpindi.
"Things are obviously changing very quickly at the moment but we're still in conversation, we're just waiting on a few things to try and work out what's going to happen. But obviously with what's going on in that part of the world, I think it would be a really strong thing as female cricketers for us to go and play women's sport in that region.
"So hopefully, things are deemed safe. That's out of my hands and the team's hands, it's up to the people above to make those decisions but we're in constant conversations and that will progress, I'm sure, in the next few weeks."

Valkerie Baynes is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo