Black Caps looking to put behind their woeful Test form against England behind them.
New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum hopes a change of format and the introduction of several new players will revive his side from the depths of a Test whitewash when they face England in a three-match one-day series starting at Lord’s on Friday.
For both teams, this series will serve as a warm-up for next month’s ICC Champions Trophy tournament in England and Wales.
McCullum would also like it to act as a pick-me-up for a squad that suffered a 247-run hammering by England in the second and final Test at Headingley on Tuesday.
Friday’s match will see New Zealand return to Lord’s where they lost the first Test by the comparatively modest, yet still huge, margin of 170 runs after collapsing to 68 all out in their second innings.
They are set to take the field without left-arm seamer Trent Boult, a star performer when New Zealand faced England at home earlier this year and who also impressed in England before aggravating a side strain at Headingley that left him doubtful for the Champions Trophy. Ian Butler is ready to stand-in should Boult be ruled out.
However, the inclusion of eight new players for the ODIs with England should bolster the Kiwis, who lost the corresponding three-match one-day series in New Zealand 2-1 after winning an ODI series in South Africa for the first time in January.
“We’ve got eight new guys coming into the fold for the ODI series and Champions Trophy and they’re quite experienced, some of those guys,” said McCullum.
“One thing we have been able to do in recent times is move between the forms of the game and refocus too. That’s what this (situation) is going to require on a very short turnaround.”
Former captain Daniel Vettori, who ruled himself unfit to play at Headingley because of concerns over an Achilles injury, James Franklin, Nathan McCullum, Kyle Mills and Grant Elliott will all add experience.
Mitchell McClenaghan is an aggressive fast bowler and Colin Munro, when in form, a hard-hitting middle-order batsman.
Meanwhile Luke Ronchi is set to make his debut as an opener after four years qualifying since playing four ODIs and three T20s for Australia.
It’s even possible Ronchi might keep wicket rather than McCullum, who found himself behind the stumps at Headingley after BJ Watling was injured at Lord’s, having given up keeping in Tests because of injury problems.
“It’s something we need to talk about in the next 24 hours before we start to nail down that one-day team but it’s definitely up for discussion.
“He (Ronchi) is definitely going to play as an opener.”
England will now be under the guidance of one-day coach Ashley Giles as team director Andy Flower takes a break to plot the defence of the Ashes against Australia ahead of the latest edition of Test cricket’s oldest rivalry, which resumes at Nottingham’s Trent Bridge ground in July.
Whereas the one-dayers and indeed the Champions Trophy, represent New Zealand’s best chance of success this tour for many within English cricket, where Test cricket still holds sway, they are something of an annoying interlude.
However, England have never won a major global 50-over tournament and Cook, whose up-tempo 130 at Headingley augured well for the ODIs, insisted the side would not get ahead of themselves.
“There is a long time until the Ashes. A lot of things can change,” said Cook. “A lot of important one-day cricket will be played.”
Probable teams and officials for the first one-day international between England and New Zealand at Lord’s on Friday (0945GMT start):
England from: Alastair Cook (capt), James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Ian Bell, Ravi Bopara, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler (wkt), Steven Finn, Eoin Morgan, Joe Root, Graeme Swann, James Tredwell, Jonathan Trott, Chris Woakes
New Zealand from: Brendon McCullum (capt/wkt), Trent Boult, Grant Elliott, Andrew Ellis, James Franklin, Martin Guptill, Mitchell McClenaghan, Nathan McCullum, Kyle Mills, Colin Munro, Luke Ronchi (wkt), Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Daniel Vettori, Kane Williamson
Umpires: Aleem Dar (PAK) and Richard Illingworth (ENG)