McCullum confident of NZ chances
Brendon McCullum, the New Zealand captain, believes the momentum the current team has built over the last few months could help them cross the line this time
New Zealand have made it to the World Cup semi-finals six out of 10 times, but never further. However, Brendon McCullum, the New Zealand captain, believes the momentum the current team has built over the last few months could help them cross the line this time.
"We've still got a long way to go as a team, but we've made some significant strides in the last few months especially, and we're starting to achieve some special things," McCullum said. "It would be great if we could swallow a World Cup along the way.
"The good thing is the style of play now is becoming so engrained with the group as well, that the personnel may change at times, but the style of play is pretty consistent," he said. "We know what is going to give us our greatest chance towards success and we go about doing that. And the personnel within that group is as good as what I've been involved in."
New Zealand have played four ODI series in the lead-up to the World Cup, three of them at home, and have only lost one. That blip came when they were comfortably edged aside by South Africa in October. Since then, New Zealand have won a series in the UAE and thrashed Sri Lanka and Pakistan at home.
"When you're playing a team like South Africa and if you're a little bit off task or not quite fully prepared, they're going to expose you, and that's what we found in that series," McCullum said. "We've learned good lessons from it as well. We saw Luke Ronchi and his confidence that's grown since those two knocks he had against him.
"The confidence we've been able to build over a period of time in the situations we've found ourselves in and still being able to succeed is something which I think the team is now priding itself on as well. At least that gives us a reason for hope that we've got a chance in this World Cup."
Asked if playing a home World Cup was a cause of nerves for the players, McCullum said the team had worked hard on "maintaining the emotional level" and were prepared to handle the rapid swings of fortune during the tournament. Twenty years ago, if there was any effect, it was all positive as New Zealand won their first seven matches before losing consecutive games to the eventual winners, Pakistan.
"We've sort of got fond memories of that campaign, and how it captivated New Zealand and the manner in which that '92 team played and the innovation and sheer passion that they played with, and we've been able to glean some of those examples and try to integrate them into our current make-up as well," McCullum said. "We haven't exactly had people come in and sort of discuss it with us, but the lasting image of '92 certainly resonates throughout the squad as well."