The BLACKCAPS will get the opportunity to field nearly all their squad when they play Bangladesh in the first of two pre tournament matches at the Three Ws ground in Barbados starting early tomorrow morning (2.30am NZT).
Each side will be able to use 13 players during the match, the only player not available for selection for New Zealand is Mark Gillespie, who has a neck injury and will see a specialist.
BLACKCAPS captain Stephen Fleming said that while the game offers most players an opportunity for a good ‘blow out’ it is also an important chance to start to assess the pitches that teams will encounter in the West Indies.
“The teams that adjust quickest to the pitches will be the most effective. The first couple of weeks are going to be assessment periods for all teams. You must ensure that your style of cricket suits the condition. There is no use having your seamers for a slow wicket and your slow bowlers for a pitch with some bounce and life,” he said.
The BLACKCAPS have had two net sessions on very good practice pitches at the Windward Cricket Ground and then the Police Ground at Waymouth, and fielding practice only at Kensington Oval.
While the team suffered from jet lag for the first few days, the entire squad is almost back to normal sleeping hours and the corresponding energy levels.
“These pre-tournament games are important as they will give the bowlers a chance to get through a full quota and the batsmen will have the same opportunities,” Fleming added.
“This pre-tournament period is all based around quality – quality of preparation, of practice and play.
“While it is good having confidence going into the tournament, it is the team that carries that form and confidence throughout the two months that will win. This tournament has been won in the past by teams who have not had good form coming into the tournament but have gained confidence and form over the two months.
“The nature of world cricket at present is that teams are beating other teams. Apart from Australia, there has been no other dominant side. I think this will be reflected in the results over the next two months.”
The BLACKCAPS team will not be named until just prior to the start of play.
BLACKCAPS: Stephen Fleming (captain), Shane Bond, James Franklin, Peter Fulton, Michael Mason, Brendon McCullum, Craig McMillan, Jacob Oram, Jeetan Patel, Scott Styris, Ross Taylor, Daryl Tuffey, Daniel Vettori, Lou Vincent
Bangladesh: Habibul Bashar (captain), Shahriar Nafees, Tamim Iqbal, Aftab Ahmed, Saqibul Hasan, Mohammad Ashraful, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mohammad Rafique, Abdur Razzak, Mashrafe Mortaza, Shahadat Hossain, Tapash Baisya, Syed Rasel, Rajin Saleh, Javed Omar