New Zealand coach Mike Hesson is grabbing on to the fact that the Black Caps recently won an ODI series in South Africa as the reason he feels confident about the start of the one-day series against England today.
England beat New Zealand in the final Twenty20 game, at the Cake Tin on Friday night to take the series 2-1.
The first of three one-dayers takes place today at Seddon Park and although England have flown over some of their heavyweights for the ODIs and the tests that follow, Hesson is optimistic about what lies ahead, believing the Black Caps can match the Alastair Cook-led side.
"Without a doubt," Hesson said yesterday. "We have just come off a series win in South Africa, so we're playing good one-day cricket. Ross Taylor has been added to that mix and he gives us some more strength and quality in the middle order.
"Also our bowling unit has got some experience and aggressive youth as well, so we're confident going into the series."
Comparing the England and New Zealand players to each other, the tourists come out on top, even though Kane Williamson, B J Watling and Kyle Mills all come into the New Zealand squad.
However, Hesson believes if the Caps stick to the game plan, they can be victorious.
"It is about making sure we nail down the blueprint of the style we want to play, in terms of during the middle overs, building good strong partnerships with the top of the order, therefore we're able to use our power players near the back," he said.
"With the ball, it's being aggressive up front, denying in the middle and fight like crazy in the field, that's the way we want to be known.
"Without doubt, [Alastair] Cook, [Jonathan] Trott and [Ian] Bell add a lot of quality to that top order and [James] Anderson and [Graeme] Swann are world class performers, so they'll ask us different questions and we need to make sure we scout and prepare well for those guys, but most of our focus will be on us."
Worryingly, New Zealand's Taylor scored 13, 4 and 6 runs in the three Twenty20 games last week and the method of his dismissal in Wellington was most concerning, slogging out at the next ball after hitting a six, off a delivery from makeshift bowler Joe Root.
Since his return to the Black Caps after his bitter fallout over the captaincy, he hasn't looked anything like the world-class player he is, but Hesson's not concerned.
"It is a T20 and it's one of those games, if Ross got another couple out of the screws he'd be away," Hesson said. "It is one of those things where he's working hard in the nets and it's about getting time in the middle and hopefully during these one-dayers he's able to get that.
"Ross played for the team," Hesson added. "Joe Root was bowling and we couldn't allow him to bowl a cheap over, so he made a decision to take him on, it didn't work but these things happen in Twenty20. No doubt Ross will enjoy some time in the middle, but I am certainly not worried about his form, he is a quality player."
- Sunday News