England are eager to ensure that they maintain their excellent form in ODI cricket with the World Cup in 2019 in sight.
Middle-order batsman Joe Root says that England need to prove their ODI credentials with a win over New Zealand away from home.
Root conceded that it has been a long winter for the white-ball players who have been away from home for some time now but he feels that the team are prepared to take on New Zealand.
Standing in their way is a Black Caps team that have recorded successive whitewashes in their last two series against Pakistan and before that the West Indies.
Speaking to Sky Sports Cricket ahead of the first ODI against New Zealand in Hamilton, Root said: “The challenge for us, at the end of a long winter for this white-ball group – we’ve been out here for a long time and as a white-ball group you don’t normally tour for long periods like this – is to back-up that series performance, that is really crucial.
“Especially ahead of next year with the World Cup and everything that brings.”
New Zealand were runners up at the last World Cup, a tournament where England bowed out early prompting a massive shift in thinking within the camp and something of a ODI revolution led by the rise of some dynamic white-ball specialists.
Root feels that winning this series would be a big statement ahead of the World Cup in 2019.
He went on: “If we’re going to be really serious about competing in that we’re going to have to win series like this one, which will be tough against a good side like New Zealand.”
England and New Zealand meet in a five match ODI series that gets underway on Sunday at Seddon Park in Hamilton.