Spinners to play key role: Styris

Monday, February 14, 2011

CHENNAI - The New Zealand team believes that should the pitches in the ensuing World Cup cricket favour spinners, like tracks in the sub-continent usually do, then they have the man in skipper Daniel Vettori to do the job for them.

Scott Styris, the teams highly experienced player, qualified this theory by pointing out to Sunday nights warm-up game between India and Australia at Bangalore.

“If the wicket is going to turn as much as it did in the Bangalore match, the World Cup is going to be interesting. In sub-continent, the spinners would always have a major role to play,” said the 35-year old all-rounder set to play his third World Cup.

Supporting the Styris thoughts, middle-order batsman Ross Taylor opined that the spinners will play a big role in the World Cup and so it is good to have someone as experienced as Vettori, the left-arm spinner.

“We need to try and unsettle them. It is not just that I am the only good player of spin in the team. There are others who are equally good at it,” said the 26-year old Taylor.

Looking ahead to the World Cup that begins on February 19, Styris said the sub-continent was his favourite place to tour.

“It doesnt get any bigger than this, a World Cup in the sub-continent. Cricket is heartbeat here and the atmosphere would be electrifying.

“Besides, we would be tested against the best in the business. It is my favourite place to tour, and I have also performed well in these conditions.

“We have been struggling of late, but have beaten all the teams before. And we believe we are up to the challenge of doing it again.”

Referring to the string of defeats in the recent ODI series, against Bangladesh, India and Pakistan Taylor said: “We had some tough six months. But we have learned a lot from it and will try as hard as we can to win the World Cup.

“When you reach the quarterfinals, it is just three matches away from winning the World Cup. Personally, the World Cup is big for me. In 2007, my World Cup was cut short by an injury.

Kiwis began their run-up to the World Cup on a bright note with a win against Ireland at Nagpur last week in a warm-up game and are scheduled to play India next on Wednesday before heading to Dhaka, Bangladesh for the inauguration.

Talking about the next warm-up game, Styris said: “I accept that they (India) have one of the best top-six line-ups in the world. They are aggressive, but you shouldnt be flustered when they go after you.

“You should keep putting them under pressure, and once you manage to do this they can crumble, as there is so much of pressure on them to win the World Cup. You need to be patient as well.”

Opening batsman Brendon McCullum concurred, but said the warm-up game was more about trying out a few theories as also sharpening the skills.

“Both teams will see this as an opportunity to hone their skills heading into the World Cup. From our point of view, we have got couple of things we will continue to try out. It is not too much of real competitive side more of honing the skills for both teams for the big stage,” he said.

Meanwhile, feeling quite pleased about his form that saw him scored a century against Ireland in their first warm-up game at Nagpur last week, Martin Guptill, the opening batsman felt that it was just the kind of start he and his team needed.

“I am pretty happy with good start since my century against Pakistan late last year. It gives me a bit of head start than those guys who have not batted quite so long in these conditions and I hope to carry on. It is a matter of acclimatizing and getting used to the conditions, but it is going to take a few more days,” said Guptill who will be making his World Cup debut.

Guptill pointed out that the Kiwis entertained realistic hopes of making the quarter-finals and then winning the three games to annex the World Cup.

“We are very optimistic about our performance this time, realistic in our approach to qualify for the quarterfinal and then look at winning the next three games. We have the talent to do it,” he said.

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