World Cup an opportunity to make fresh start, says Vettori

Chennai: Battling poor form for the past few months, New Zealand skipper Daniel Vettori on Saturday urged his teammates to use the World Cup as an opportunity to make amends for their abominable record in recent times.

New Zealand have lost 14 of their last 17 ODIs, including nine in the sub-continent.

"We lost a lot of games in recent times and they were disappointing performances, particularly in the sub-continent, but I hope we can look at the World Cup as a fresh start. We are sure to up our confidence levels," Vettori said on the eve
of their World Cup opener against Kenya.

Vettori, who had missed his side`s last warm-up game against India due to a groin problem, has declared himself fit for the opener, but doubts remained over Nathan McCullum`s participation. The all-rounder has just recovered from a bout
of fever.

"We are all definitely available. Focus was on today`s training. Nathan has been discharged from the hospital this morning and joined us for a light session. He is a lot better and might take a decision on playing him. He is confident that he can take part in the match tomorrow. But I don`t want to take a risk with him since he is required for the full tournament," Vettori said.

Instead of harping on their recent records, Vettori is looking ahead to the tournament, and said his team has the ability to bounce back.

"It`s quite a fluid concept when we play bigger teams but our guys have the abilities to bounce back. But I prefer to look ahead rather than dwelling on the past," he said.

Asked about the game against Kenya, he said, "Intensity will be even bigger because this is a must-win game for us. We will be strong and play well."

On playing a qualifier rather than a stronger opponent in the first match, Vettori said it did not matter much. "The hardest thing about playing a qualifier is that you
do not see much of them. Some of their players will be a bit of a surprise. You prepare may be after seeing them on television. In a way it is a challenge but it does not matter as we got to turn up and play tomorrow."

Whether the Kiwis go with three pacers and two spinners or vice-versa would depend on McCullum`s fitness, the skipper indicated.

"I think definitely we play two spinners and look at the possibilities in balancing if the third one is coming in. We have fixed too much on batting and that does not give us enough in bowling. As of now, we plan to play three pace and two spinners."
Vettori termed the wicket at the MA Chidambaram Stadium as a good and challenging surface.

"We have played a couple of games here. It is a good wicket and a great ground. It is one of those grounds that I look forward to play. It is a beautiful stadium," he said.

Asked about the dew factor, he said it would come into play in night matches.

Referring to India`s run-riot in the warm-up game, Vettori said if 360 runs are scored by a team the surface should be good.

"I will give another view tomorrow morning, which could be different again. But I think there is plenty of runs in it, if you bowl well, you can restrict the batting side on this wicket. Generally, it is a batting wicket."

Talking about former South African speedster Allan Donald`s association with the side as the bowling coach, Vettori said he had been telling the guys on what it takes to succeed in the sub-continent.

"Allan has been an exciting addition to the team because he is bringing obviously his own personal skills and his own confidence. The guys listen when he says what it takes to succeed in the sub-continent and other parts of the world. He has been a very good addition to the team and is someone who has brought lots of knowledge with him."

Vettori said fast bowlers Tim Southee and Jacob Oram`s ability to reverse swing the ball has been identified as a key factor by Donald. "With Allan`s knowledge our bowlers could get the required results in this tournament and the next home

The Kiwi captain sought to play down the the 117-run thrashing by India.

"I think it is a game where 15 play against 11. You try to take some positives out of it. It gives you practice time. A lot of guys have understood what the conditions are going to be like tomorrow in our first match. I hope the result will be hopefully relevant and in a couple days of time, we can move on."

Reacting to the ongoing debate over ICC`s proposal to make the World Cup a ten-team affair, Vettori said as long as the developmental aspect continue it was good.

"It is important at different levels but it is left to the ICC to keep both formats successful."


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