There’s plenty on the line for New Zealand A, as they get set to begin their Tri-series in the United Kingdom against two world-class sides in Sri Lanka A and the England Lions.
The Kiwi side kick-starts the action on Tuesday night when they square off against Sri Lanka A at The County Ground in Taunton. The tournament, which will see each side face off twice, is an intriguing one.
When you combine ever-important bragging rights with a prime opportunity for players to impress ahead of the World Cup next year, you’ve got yourself a fiercely competitive Tri-series.
The NZ A squad boasts plenty of star-power, with BJ Watling, Colin Munro, Tom Latham and Matt Henry headlining a number of BLACKCAPS at the side’s disposal.
Their opposition don’t lack the big names either, with Sri Lanka having the services of international representatives in Thisara Perera, Chaturanga de Silva and Upul Tharanga (to name a few).
The New Zealand side have had two warm-up matches to prepare, firstly comfortably beating Northamptonshire in a match where they scored 424 from 50 overs, including 151 apiece to Munro and Colin de Grandhomme. A healthy hit out.
Their second warm-up was against Sri Lanka in a rain reduced 20 over match, losing by 14 runs via the Duckworth Lewis Method. While providing a helpful sighter of what they’ll be up against, they’ll be motivated to avenge that loss when Tri-series points are on the line.
Coach Bob Carter said the team was ready and optimistic.
“We’ve had a couple of really hard training sessions over the last couple of days and I’ve been really pleased with the attitude and the work the boys have put in,” said Carter.
“The series is going to be of an extremely high quality. The players desire to perform and win is going to make for a great intensity to the games and that’s what we’re after.
“Some people might see this tour as a way for players to develop, but I can tell you that as a group we’re hell-bent on winning and want to come out on top.”
Following their opening fixture with Sri Lanka, they’ll then face hosts England on Friday. One would expect them to be a force to be reckoned with, featuring world class batsmen such as Ravi Bopara, Jonny Bairstow and Alex Hales. Factor in their knowledge of the home conditions and one might be tempted to put them down as favourites.
Carter and his side have different ideas.