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New-look England ready to test ODI credentials vs Black Caps

New-look England to test credentials against World Cup finalist New Zealand in ODI series

New-look England ready to test ODI credentials vs Black Caps

Judging by the last meeting of England and New Zealand in 50-over cricket, there can only be one winner in the one-day international series between the teams that starts in Birmingham on Tuesday.

The Black Caps' eight-wicket victory with 226 balls to spare was one of a slew of embarrassments for England at the Cricket World Cup in February and March, showing just how far the country has slumped in the limited-overs format.

Outdated tactics, the wrong approach, poor selections -- there are plenty of reasons behind England's group-stage exit at the World Cup and its dismal ODI record in recent years. A change in mentality was required, and that could be on show in the upcoming five-match series over the next 12 days.

England has dropped many senior players -- many of whom brought a test-match mentality into ODI cricket -- and gone with a new-look, attacking side containing big hitters like Alex Hales, Jason Roy and Ben Stokes.

"For a long time now, we've been behind the eight-ball in one-day cricket and we've fallen behind by a long way," England captain Eoin Morgan said Monday. "And it's time for a catch-up."

If the English wanted a team to copy in the ODI format, they might want to watch some tapes of New Zealand. The Kiwis lit up the World Cup with their aggressive attitude that took them all the way to the final, where they lost to Australia.

In that match against England at Wellington, for example, New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum demonstrated how the modern game is played by smashing an 18-ball half-century. His team reached its target of 123 in 12.2 overs.

McCullum is expecting more from England this time.

"I think it's an exciting squad that they've picked," McCullum said Monday. "It's obviously a little bit raw, but it's full of talented players and guys who are pretty aggressive with both bat and ball.

"It's not easy playing that brand of cricket but the more you play it, the more comfortable you become."

The ODI series officially starts on Tuesday but, for the Black Caps, it might have begun three weeks ago. In the recent two-match test series between the teams that ended 1-1, New Zealand played an attacking brand of cricket rarely seen in the test arena, with the team going along at 6 or 7 runs per over in some sessions.

Batsman Grant Elliott and left-arm paceman Mitchell McClenaghan return to the New Zealand team after missing the test series, while Corey Anderson is a doubt with a back injury hanging over from the test series.

Jimmy Anderson, Stuart Broad and Ian Bell were among seven players from England's World Cup squad that were left out for the series. Uncapped wicketkeeper-batsman Sam Billings is in the squad.

New Zealand won 2-1 in its last ODI series in England.

Updated : 2021-09-21 21:26 GMT+08:00