20 May 2015

Black Caps play straight bat on England woes

7:29 am on 20 May 2015

The Black Caps are playing straight bat to suggestions that England are ripe for the taking, as they prepare for the first cricket test starting at Lord's tomorrow night.

The Black Caps wicketkeeper/batsman BJ Watling playing for Northern Districts.

The Black Caps wicketkeeper/batsman BJ Watling playing for Northern Districts. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

With a new cricket director, coach and chairman, England return to the field of play tomorrow night in the first test against the Black Caps at Lord's following an extraordinary period of upheaval.

Alastair Cook leads his team into a huge summer of cricket which will be defined by the Ashes, but first up they must deal with a two-test series against a New Zealand side plaing aggressive, innovative cricket under Brendon McCullum's captaincy.

England, in stark contrast, are in disarray following a dismal World Cup campaign and a disappointing 1-1 test series draw in the West Indies.

New cricket director Andrew Strauss sacked coach Peter Moores 10 days ago, and his next task was to reveal that Kevin Pietersen would not be recalled, despite his recent career-best innings of 355 not out for Surrey.

New Zealand's two game buildup has been overshadowed by England's issues.

It's 16 years since New Zealand last won a test series in England and the Black Caps have now risen to third on the world rankings while England's slipped to fifth.

Black Caps wicketkeeper BJ Watling concedes England are out of sorts but he says New Zealand would be foolish to underestimate them, especially in their home conditions.

"They may be struggling for a little bit of form but that's cricket that comes and goes and we know that we've struggled over here and we know that we've got to put in our best effort to beat them."

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