2011 will an exciting year of sport. Along with the NRL which is outstanding every year, we've also got both the cricket and the rugby world cups. I'm really looking forward to both.
In regards to the cricket world cup my New Zealand 11 would line up as follows...
Daniel Vettori (c)
Forget statistics for selecting the team. New Zealand cricket will never amount to anything based on statistics. Team is based on passion / power / potential. With this line up we bat through to 8 but even 9, 10 and 11 know how to hit the ball. Bowling lacks the quick and really Adam Milne should be there instead of Mills. Forget experience here; it’s worth having one player who can hit the 140km plus mark. Oh well. The reality is as Twenty20 cricket proves; pace isn’t everything in limited over cricket. In fact taking all the pace off the ball seems to be the way to go. No place for How or Oram in this line up. How’s just not quite there. Oram is past it, sorry to say.
Keys in the world cup...
Fielding - will be to field with 100% commitment 100% of the time. Stop as many boundaries as possible with full commitment in the outfield, restrict the quick singles in close, pouncing on everything and threatening with run outs by hitting the stumps again and again. Catching is going to need to be sublime. See Sinclair for sublime!
Bowling – our slow bowlers are going to be key in building pressure. Vettori will and obviously has to lead the way. N McCullum, Styris and Guptill/Williamson at times need to be on fire and need to bowl smart. It would be nice to see Ryder roll the arm over every now and then as well. We’re going to need to mix things up. Open with McCullum on occasion. Don’t let batters get settled and bowl smart. No the opposition and set fields accordingly. Smart slow bowling will be the key though. Of course Franklin, Southee, Mills need to back up as well.
Batting – There is a lot of potential here. All our batters have fired before we just need a few of them to fire all at once. The key will be to read what’s happening in the game and ignore at times the proposed line up. Bring B McCullum in early if required. Hold Taylor back if the openers have set a solid platform and let Williamson or Styris craft it around. Over all the batters are going to have to bat aggressively. This is risky but I think it’s where we could find an edge. Ryder, Taylor, B McCullum and even Guptill have the ability to really go for it; go for it is what they are going to have to do.
My prediction - We’ll make the quarter finals as we always do. Then, as long as we don’t get India we’ll make it through to the semis, this will be a big upset! Here though we’ll go down. Most likely to India.