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We're quietly confident: McCullum

New Zealand captain feels tournament format will suit his team's style of play

We're quietly confident: McCullum - Cricket News
New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum.
Have you narrowed the squad down at all?
No, not at this stage. Ideally, we would have. We obviously like to normally give you the team the day before the game, but, unfortunately, we're waiting on a couple of guys to be able to be declared for tomorrow morning before we can narrow that down unfortunately.
Is that Dan and Grant?
Yeah, Dan and Grant, specifically, just because of those two and the balance our team makes, slightly adjusts, we'll need one of those guys available, so at the moment we'll hold and make sure they have every opportunitytomorrow morning.
What is your confidence around Dan?
Probably more confident around Dan than Grant at this stage, but again we want to wait for the morning so both can wake up, see their own assessments of their injuries and come to a decision amongst us to insure that we've got every chance of being at our best tomorrow.
You're up against Sri Lanka who you played recently as well at their home, so looking forward to that challenge?
Yeah, it's going to be a good challenge. Sri Lanka has obviously dominated us in recent history. The wickets that we played on back in Sri Lanka in that series will be a lot different than what we're expecting over here during this Champions Trophy.

So we know they're a very good team.  They've got some mystery spinners and some obvious quirks about their bowling line up lingering, especially they've also got some experienced batters and a tough proposition. But they are going to be a tough team. But every team in this competition is very strong side. So our approach is very much on making sure that we play as well as what we have in the last few games in this form of the game.
Brendon, you've always been the perennial dark horses in the ICC events, but you always seem to perform really well.  Has that stat somehow helped the team perform away from the prying eyes and away from the pressure?
I don't know what it is.  We give ourselves every chance in tournaments. We seem to be thereabouts semi-final or finals stage, so I'm not quite sure why that is. Whether it's the nature of being able to bounce between different opposition and making sure that we're well prepared, which I think is something that we pride ourselves on as a group.

I mean, obviously trying to meet some of those strategies straight up. As you said, it's hard to put your finger on why we've been successful or given ourselves live chances in tournaments without really nailing one, barring since 2000. But we see our team as an experienced lineup, and it would be disappointing if we don't give ourselves a chance later on in this tournament.

You've spent some time around Glamorgan over the years back in the day.  Does that give you any inside knowledge on some things or does that bring back memories for you?
Brings back some good restaurants and some good golf courses. Yeah, it's nice to be back. It's a beautiful place in Cardiff. The ground has changed significantly since both James and I were here back in 2006 I think it was. But it's nice to see some familiar faces and hopefully some knowledge of the surroundings here will be able to be of some assistance, but we'll have to wait and see. But it's nice to be back here, it's a lovely place.
What kind of confidence does New Zealand bring to this competition having been in England for the last one month and being in the 100 series?
Yeah, we're quietly confident. We think we are a good One Day unit with experienced players and a feel or idea or understanding of the style of play which suits us. We think we've got some match winners amongst our lineup, and we've had to battle harder in English conditions over the last week or so in this form of the game, and we are confident that it will give us some sort of assistance. But in saying that, the opposition has been playing some warm‑up games over here as well, so I guess we'll see the merits of warm‑up games versus match hardened games unfolding over the next week or so.
Is this the ideal tournament format for you?
Yep, yeah, I think it is.  Sort of two out of three wins will get you through to the semifinal stage, and know that it's being played over a short period of time as well. I think it certainly suits our style of play and suits our team. Yeah, without wanting to obviously have too many eyes on what goes on in a week or two, or we'd be (Indiscernible) if we weren't at least still in the tournament in the semi-final, final stage. But we know we have a lot of hard work to do between now and then and make sure we put up some very good performances.
Are you surprised this is going to be the last tournament being that they've got the formula right and it seems to be a huge success?
Yeah, a little bit surprised. I don't know. None of us really know how some of these decisions are made, but they're obviously made with some sound reasoning behind it as well. But from our point of view, we're excited to be part of a tournament which consists of the top teams and know that you're going to play against some ‑‑ every game is going to be a very tough game, and if you do get some success then you know that you've earned it. So I think they have got the formula right for this one, and obviously the decision for it to be abandoned after this is made with some sound reason.
Where do you think you have the edge over the opposition or the strengths that you're going to be banking ontomorrow?
Well, I don't know that we've got the edge over them yet, but we know we have a style of play that we're comfortable with, and hopefully we can exert some pressure on some of the areas that we think they may not be as strong as they are in some other areas.  But we're incredibly respectful of Sri Lanka as a team. I think they're an excellent cricket team and their statistics over recent history deduces that as well. But we are very focused on making sure we now progress our plans accordingly, and if we do that, we give ourselves a live chance.
Talking particularly about the Champions Trophy; you obviously won it 13 years ago, and you were in the finals last time out in 2009.  Some happy memories of this tournament?
Yeah, not too many of us were around in that first tournament. I think was Ben around? He might have been.  But, yeah, obviously, we've performed reasonably well in this tournament, and played in the finals last time against Australia and South Africa, and we probably should have done better than what we did in that final, but we had a pretty good tournament leading up to that.

I think this tournament suits us, and if we play good cricket, we'll give ourselves a chance. If we don't play good cricket, then we don't deserve to be there. But we know we've got a comfortable squad, and a good, sound understanding of what role we play and we want to play.
Going forward in the tournament, Martin Guptill's performance has given the batting side a lot of boost?
Yeah, Martin Guptill's batting has been world class the last week or so in his form of the game.  We talked a lot recently about his batsmanship through some key stages in the game, and it's been outstanding. We're confident that Martin will continue that form, and also Ross Taylor as well. I think his performance has been very sound for us. Then some other guys have chipped in too.

So our batting is starting to fire. We had a bit of a letdown the other day. But we're starting to get there, and starting to get a decent grasp of I guess performance and partnerships and getting some good scores on the board. But there are many guys that are going to stay up over the next couple of weeks, but it's certainly nice to come into the tournament with the guys in form as well.
You played with Senanayake in Calcutta. What do you make of him these days?
Yeah, Sachi, he's a different proposition to Murali. His bowling is definitely one of the mystery spinners that come around, and he's got a good variety of different balls which he bowls as well, so he's going to be an interesting proposition for us. Because if we give him a sniff or if we expose, I guess, some frailties to such spinners such as Sachi, he could quite easily expose us. But I hope we play him with some freedom, and hopefully we've got enough knowledge and preparation so that will last us a while from various sources that we'll be able to be successful against him, but time will tell.
How much are you expecting to face spinners here in the whole tournament?
I think spinning is going to be a key factor for a while. This pitch here is being covered now after it had a little bit of water put on it as well this morning, so that is a reasonable sign for our bowling on it. But I also think we've got some reasonable spinners that may be an effect if the ball does turn or stop as well. So I expect the spin, and with (Indiscernible), spinners could have quite a bit, but also if we can get it out straight and hit the targets.

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