Black Caps Patched Up

Reports & previews

New Zealand will field at least one player with a broken finger in their World Cup opener against England on Friday.

New Zealand will field at least one player with a broken finger as their World Cup campaign begins against England on Friday at Beausejour.
While England spent Thursday assessing the prospects of James Anderson, who fractured his little finger on his bowling hand earlier this week, all-rounder Jacob Oram will take part with a micro-light splint on his hand while Peter Fulton is also in the selection shake-up.
With Craig McMillan allaying fears over his bruised toe by coming through batting and fielding practice on Thursday, New Zealand's management must decide who to leave out.
The final place in the XI will depend on whether Jeetan Patel is called in as a second spinner.
If he is, then one of McMillan, who struck a hundred in his last one-day international against Australia last month, Fulton or Scott Styris will miss out.
McMillan and Styris both offer controlled medium pace, which could be handy on a slow surface.
"Whether we can fit both of them in, with the spinners as well, could be a bit of a logjam," captain Stephen Fleming admitted.
"When you question who is going to be most effective it may not be the second spinner but the guys rolling their fingers over the ball.
"Tactically we have to make a decision on what we think will be most effective."
With teams carrying the points earned against fellow qualifiers through to the Super Eight stage, there is incentive to go for the victory, and Fleming also has revenge in mind after England progressed to the Commonwealth Bank Series finals at the Black Caps' expense.
"It's a big game first up, that's been identified and we've been aiming for this for some time," he said.
"We want to win this game.
"We are smarting from England knocking us out in Australia, to get off to a good start in the tournament we have to win this game and win it well.
"If we don't we can come out with the excuse 'it's not too bad' but we are desperate to win and set the standard for the tournament.
"Looking at the Super Eight you pretty much have to beat every side at some stage to win this tournament. If we beat England now it may help in the long run."
Despite the damaged digits and fast bowler Mark Gillespie's unavailability due to a virus, New Zealand arrived here at 100 per cent capacity and as settled as any of the Test nations in terms of personnel.
"On paper we are pretty well prepared," Fleming said.
"This is the best prepared side for a World Cup I've been involved with. Our form leading up to it has been a little bit patchy but the way we finished gave us confidence. I am pretty sure on our day we are going to be there or thereabouts."
The Black Caps completed thrilling chases of 337 and 347 to complete a 3-0 whitewash of world champions Australia last month but Fleming expects the cricket to be different in the Caribbean.
"Going for 350 isn't good for anyone," Fleming said.
"We are a pretty good chasing side but my gut feeling is that setting a score might be the way to go. We saw the West Indies strangle Pakistan and if the pitch is low and slow and getting slower it might be an advantage batting first."

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