Fleming To Make Experience Count
New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming hopes his side's extra international knowhow can conjure a win over England.
New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming hopes his side's extra international know-how can conjure Group C victory over England in their World Cup opener at Beausejour today.
The two countries were locked at 2-2 in the Commonwealth Bank Series last month, which Fleming believes is an indication of two evenly-matched outfits.
But New Zealand are a much more developed unit than their opponents and that may prove crucial on the big stage of the World Cup.
Fleming said: "The one thing we have maybe got is experience, the English guys have played a lot at county cricket but at internationals and World Cups I think we've got them covered.
"We have got to get into our patterns pretty quickly and stay relaxed.
"One of the temptations is to go too hard too early because you want to make a good start. We want to get into the groove we left our country in."
The surface is expected to encourage the spinners – it did so in the contest between Kenya and Canada earlier this week – and that will create an interesting head-to-head between the world's best two left-arm slow men.
"I'm pretty excited," said New Zealand's Daniel Vettori. "(Coach) John Bracewell won't leave me alone so I think he is expecting me to do something out there."
England's Monty Panesar has only been playing international cricket for a year but he has made rapid progress and has never been shy in asking for advice on the art of spin.
"I felt him staring at me a couple of times," Vettori joked, of their recent meeting in Australia.
"Monty is one of the spinners around the world who is willing to learn and wants to talk to you about anything.
"His development has been rapid over the short time he has played the game so he is obviously taking the advice from what people have had to say."
England are also boosted by the return of Kevin Pietersen, who has yet to face New Zealand in his career.
"Not a lot of us have played against him, some have seen him in county cricket and I have played with him a little bit so you sort of know what to expect," said Vettori, a former World XI Super Series colleague. "You know he is very dangerous and an integral part of the England set-up."
The Black Caps will have to make do without fast bowler Mark Gillespie for the foreseeable future as he battles the virus which has caused stiffness in his right shoulder.
"He is pretty frustrated at the moment and you have to bear in mind that time ticking away is time he can't bowl," said Fleming.
"To get him up to speed is going take a while. We are happy at the moment carrying 14 but we will want some improvement.
"I guess we will give him the three group games to see where we are at."
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