Home advantage for World Cup opener
Corey Anderson grew up with a dream he would play for the Black Caps one day.
Being part of the team that will play against Sri Lanka in the opening match of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 in his home city Christchurch on February 14 is taking that dream to a whole new level.
The 24-year-old all-rounder made his international cricket debut in June 2013 and cemented his place in the Black Caps last January by scoring the fastest century in the history of one-day internationals. He thinks his team has a good chance of winning the coveted World Cup.
"We are strong at one-day cricket. We have a good shot of winning it. We just need to absorb the pressure and enjoy the experience; this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play the World Cup in our own country."
Corey is excited the opening match is being played in Christchurch.
"The city holds a special place in my heart. This is where I grew up and played my cricket as a kid. And it's great to see international cricket back here after everything the city has been through; people have been waiting a long time for this."
Corey left Christchurch three years ago to play cricket for Northern Districts and now his busy international playing schedule makes coming back to visit difficult, even though his parents, Lynda and Grant, are here, along with older brother Cameron.
"When we do get a break, I enjoy coming back for Mum's cooking, though," Corey says.
His parents will be in the crowd at the opening match and plan to follow the team for as much of the tournament as possible. While Corey was growing up, they went to all his games and have missed being able to do that since he moved away.
Corey started playing cricket at the age of three, and was once a keen rugby player, as well. By the age of 15, he decided cricket was what he loved most and dedicated himself to the game. Initially, he played for the first XI at Christchurch Boys' High School and joined the Canterbury Wizards squad in the 2006-07 season, in addition to being selected for the New Zealand under-19 cricket team.
In 2007, he became the youngest player in New Zealand first-class cricket history to receive a playing contract from New Zealand Cricket.
"I love the feeling I get from playing cricket. It's a game of such highs and lows, but the feeling you get when you do well is so magnified. I'm a kid living my dream and sometimes I have to pinch myself."
To him, the Black Caps have the best job in the world. The only thing that would make it better is winning the World Cup, which is exactly what they are planning to do.
ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 - February 14-March 29