Brendon McCullum says the Black Caps have 'some really
exciting talent'. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte
After arriving in South Africa ahead of next week's
Twenty20 series, Brendon McCullum is determined to focus on the
players he has rather than those left behind.
With Ross Taylor opting against selection, Dan Vettori
injured and Jesse Ryder still in self-imposed exile, New
Zealand are touring the world's top side without three of
But McCullum, in his first press conference in the Republic,
preferred excitement over the Black Caps' young brigade to
despair about the experienced trio back home.
"[Taylor] is going to be a big loss and we've got a number of
big losses throughout our team at the moment," McCullum said.
"It's one thing to long for those guys to be present but it's
another thing to get on with the resources you've got.
"We've got some really exciting talent here, some guys we're
going to find out a lot about and who are going to be exposed
to some pretty extreme circumstances."
A third of the 15-man T20 squad have never pulled on the
black cap, a quintet of players who thrived in the shallow
water of the New Zealand domestic scene before being thrown
in the deep end.
A pair of green 22-year-olds - Corey Anderson and Jimmy
Neesham - is complemented by a trio - Mitchell McClenaghan,
Colin Munro and Derek de Boorder - who have done their time
in first class cricket.
They will be players completely unfamiliar to the opposition
but, similarly, players who have never experienced a Dale
Steyn yorker or an attacking AB de Villiers.
"We've got some exciting guys," coach Mike Hesson said. "Some
of them are young, some of them have been around a bit, but
they're certainly really keen to get their opportunity.
"South Africa are obviously a great side in all three
formats, but we're certainly looking forward to how well
we're going to play."
That great side are not without their absences, either. The
Proteas have four debutants of their own for the three T20s,
with Hashim Amla rested and Jacques Kallis and JP Duminy
missing through injury.
McCullum thought the weakened squad, which also features a
new captain in Faf du Plessis, increased New Zealand's
chances of tasting victory on the tour, chances which will
only diminish as the matches lengthen.
"They have got some inexperienced guys coming in, a change of
captain and they're resting some of their big players. So it
gives us a few positives to be able to head into the series."
One man the home side still possess is a player the Black
Caps' bowlers will remember all too well from their last T20
series against South Africa.
Opener Richard Levi's devastating batting at Seddon Park
earlier this year saw him smash 117 runs from 51 balls and
left McCullum wary of a repeat.
"He's one of those guys who possesses the ability to take a
game away from you. We've got to look at his strengths, look
at his weaknesses, look at areas where we can try to attack
"That's the beauty of Twenty20 cricket - raw talent is on
show and, in 20 overs, one guy can win a game."
- Kris Shannon of APNZ