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McCullum’s New Zealand Can Excite the World

January 29, 2015

New Zealand team pose for ICC WC 2015

Kiwis do not usually come into a big tournament with the greatest of reputations. All know that they are a fairly good side which can upset even the major teams on their day, but certainly they have not been considered to be the hot favorites when it comes to winning an ICC tournament. It took them years to put the first ever ICC trophy in their cabinet and that too is a 15-year old story now. They have featured in the occasional semifinals of the ICC Cricket World Cup, but somehow, even after having gone thus far they certainly did not look like winning it.

Winning is a habit, and the blackcaps seem like having made a good habit of this in the recent past. The team is playing well as a unit and now they are looking well consolidated to turn the tradition on its head. Probably this is the first time when they will step up into a big tournament as one of the hot favorites and no longer the dark horse. And what are the reasons? Lets have a look!

Co-hosts of the tournament: This is one of the biggest reasons why the Kiwis are being considered to be a tough opponent to beat. They have always been a strong team at their home soil and this is a long time after when they have got the opportunity to play to with their strengths. With the world cup round the corner they have had enough matches to warm themselves up and they have looked a dangerous side. We have also seen many teams falling flat with the amount of expectation on them. But New Zealand being a small country, the amount of pressure on them is likely to be less. With the kind of form they are in, they should be able to handle this. So the factor of being the co-hosts will only brighten their chances.

Having a cool captain: Brendon McCullum has really looked good with the job of captaincy in his hands. He always looks calm and composed. Pressure does not seem to see the back of him. He is good enough to motivate his team and ease the pressure off the young players. That’s exactly how the big match potential grows and it has really got his team going.

A mixture of experience and youth: The team has a very good blend of experienced players along with the young players. There is no alternative to experience when it comes to play in a world cup. In addition to this, for every side it is a must having good young players. New Zealand have always been a very good example of a very good fielding side, and with the kind of fit players they have they should be able to carry the legacy forward. On the other hand, many people might argue with the selection of Daniel Vettori. His fitness may have been put under the shadow of doubt, but there is no doubt that his experience will come into play.

Balance in batting: With New Zealand, the role of every individual is very transparent. There may not have been the players with too many variable roles to play with, but the roles assigned to the players are well carried out by them. Not all the players are equally versatile about their roles though, but if we see the overall balance and the depth of the batting lineup, this is going to be one of the strongest of batting units the Kiwis have ever had in a world cup. The team consists of all types of batsmen – experience at the top in form of Guptill and McCullam, a solid middle order having the likes of Williamson and Ross Taylor and firepower at the bottom provided by Anderson and Ronchi; when combined, is expected to draw a heavy impact.

Variety in the bowling: Another department where there is experience along with youth. Presence Kyle Mills and Daniel Vettori in the squad will add a lot to the bowling lineup. Tim Southee, the main bowler and the man in form himself is an experienced campaigner now. He and Trent Boult do complement each other very well in any format, one being the aggressor of the two, is always in search of wickets, and the other makes sure that he supports his partner bowling economical spells. Discipline is the main motto of this bowling unit. It is difficult to say which bowlers will feature in which match, but whether it be Boult or McCleanaghen; it simply will not be easy to go after the Kiwi bowling. Again, in the bowling too they have a set of different bowlers, some of them being good with the new ball, some being the good middle over bowlers and a Tim Southee who is of course the death over specialist.

Kane Williamson factor: The young kiwi batsman is simply going through a dream form and really amazed the world with his batting. Doesn’t matter which format he plays in, he has just kept scoring and shown the ability, maturity and buckets of talent he has. He is a player of quality and belongs to class of copybook batsmen. His consistent run undoubtedly is going to be a key for his team in the upcoming tournament.

So is this going to be New Zealand’s greatest chance of winning the world cup? Well, we will have to put our fingers crossed. But I shall not be surprised to see New Zealand playing in the finals, if not more, with Kane Williamson starring the most of their shows.

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