Chennai, Feb 19 (IANS) Both skipper Daniel Vettori and off-spinner Nathan McCullum are fit and available to play for New Zealand against Kenya in their opening Group A fixture of the ICC Cricket World Cup here Sunday.
Vettori, nursing a groin strain and McCullum, who was hospitalised following illness, trained Saturday morning and later the captain confirmed that they will be available for Sunday’s game.
“We are all definitely available. Focus was on today’s training. Nathan was discharged from the hospital this morning and joined us for a light session,” said Vettori at the customary pre-match Media conference here.
“He is a lot better and is confident that he can take part in the match. But I do not want to risk him since he is required for the full tournament. We will take a decision on that.”
Vettori sat out the warm-up game against India here Sunday when the Kiwis were outplayed as the home team won by 117 runs.
On his team’s recent debacles on the twin tours of Bangladesh and India, followed by the series loss to Pakistan at home, Vettori admitted that the team was low on confidence and the heavy loss in the warm-up game did not help their cause.
“We lost a lot of games in recent times and they were disappointing performances particularly in the sub-continent, but I hope we can look at the World Cup as a fresh start.
“We are sure to up our confidence levels after our match tomorrow. It is quite a fluid concept when we play bigger teams, but our guys have the ability to bounce back. I prefer to look at that rather than dwelling on the past,” said Vettori.
The Black Caps skipper said he wasn’t quite firmed up on the team composition, especially the bowling as much would depend on Nathan’s fitness.
“It depends on his (Nathan) fitness. I think definitely we will play two spinners and look at the possibilities of balancing if the third one is coming in.
“We have fixed too much on batting and that does not give us enough in bowling. As of now, we plan to play three pacemen and two spinners,” he said.
Vettori observed that the Chepauk pitch looked full of runs, like it was during the warm-up game and a team needed to bowl well to restrict the opposition.
“We have played couple of games here. It is a good wicket and a great ground. It is one of those grounds that I look forward to play on. If one team can put 360 on the board, it is a good and a challenging surface.”
About playing Kenya first up, Vettori said: “I do not think it really matters. The hardest thing about playing a qualifier is that you do not see much of them. Some of their players will be a bit of a surprise. In a way it is a challenge, but it does not matter as we got to turn up and play tomorrow