McCullum plays down expectations

22 March 2014


Kiwi skipper coy ahead of tonight's England clash

Image: Blackcaps Facebook

Skipper Brendon McCullum is hesitant at batting away New Zealand's traditional tag of tournament dark horses as they head into the World Twenty20 cricket championship in Bangladesh.

The Black Caps begin their campaign with a Group 1 clash with England in Chittagong tonight.

An excellent domestic summer which brought plenty of success against the West Indies and India has boosted confidence within the camp.

But McCullum, who has found runs flowing off his bat in recent times, believes New Zealand will have a better chance of lifting silverware a year from now.

As co-hosts of the 2015 World Cup one-day tournament, they will have the advantage of being familiar with the pitches and the off-field surroundings.

McCullum also hasn't forgotten the Black Caps' last trip to Bangladesh late last year, when they lost a one-day series 3-0.

"There's a little bit of hesitation there," he said.

"We've got the personnel that, if we get it right early, we get some momentum going and we nail our game plan the way we want, then we can be dangerous.

"But we have to make sure we're right on top of it because these conditions will be quite challenging."

England, World T20 winners in 2010, go into the competition on the back of some poor results, including a failed Ashes tour.

But McCullum is wary of how quickly fortunes can turn in cricket's shortest format.

"You only need one or two players to grab the initiative and get you in a winning position and all of a sudden you have confidence as a team," he said.

"I'm sure that's what they'll be talking about and it's a note of caution for us too."

New Zealand's other round-robin opponents are South Africa, qualifiers the Netherlands and Sri Lanka.

Those matches are also in Chittagong, where McCullum expects seamers to have more of an impact than in the Group 2 venue of Dhaka.

"Good spinners are good spinners and they still manage to play a vital role in T20 cricket," he said.

"But it just won't be quite the same role that we will see probably up the road in Dhaka."

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