Black Caps World Cup squad takes shape

MATT RICHENS
Last updated 05:00 29/01/2013
Brendon McCullum and Mike Hesson
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CAPTAIN AND COACH: Brendon McCullum and Mike Hesson.

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Coach Mike Hesson says the revolving door policy of the Black Caps limited-overs teams is closer to ending.

With a view to the 2015 World Cup, he has had 24 players in the 30 limited-overs matches played since he took over in July.

By June's Champions Trophy one-day tournament in England and Wales, he hopes to have settled on a squad he can stick with through to the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, meaning players on the fringes are running out of time to impress.

New Zealand play nine more limited-overs games before that tournament - six one-day games and three Twenty20 matches - all against England. So every game was now a trial, including the two New Zealand XI T20 matches against the touring English next week in Whangarei, Hesson said.

The T20 and one-day squads for the home matches against England are meant to be announced by the end of the week but Hesson said he could either hold off until after the two New Zealand XI games, or leave a couple of spots open for players to impress him.

Nine of the 14-man New Zealand XI squad haven't played for Hesson at international level yet and the coach has shown he's not adverse to including a bolter.

Though still ranked eighth in both 50-over and T20 cricket, New Zealand's tour of South Africa showed they're far better suited to those forms than test cricket.

Coming off the 2-1 T20 series loss and the historic 2-1 one-day series win over South Africa - New Zealand's first in the Republic - Hesson and captain Brendon McCullum are desperately keen to kick on.

"I think [the South African one-day series] showed the type of cricket we want to play," Hesson said. "We're really trying to build on that series.

"We're not world beaters yet but we played three pretty good games."

McCullum said his side had to continue to move forward and move up the rankings.

"We've had many starting points in the past but we really have to make sure this is one we kick on from and ensure that this series against England is a really big one for us."

As for test cricket, McCullum said that will take more time.

"That's going to take some patience to allow guys to be able to learn their craft at the international level.

"The life cycle of where our team's at, at the moment, is we're just not as good at test cricket as we'd like to be. We just don't have the same exposure domestically as some other teams do but we do need to improve on it.

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"Heading into the tour of South Africa, we were [ranked] ninth in one-day cricket, eighth in tests and T20, and that's not acceptable," McCullum said. 

- © Fairfax NZ News

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