Sydney [Australia]: Ahead of the three-match Chappell-Hadlee ODI series against Australia starting at the SCG from tomorrow, New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson has said that his side would focus on playing their best, and insisted they can beat anyone if they succeed in doing so.
Having snapped its losing streak in Tests, the Aussies will be looking to end its five-match barren run in ODIs in the upcoming series.
The Steve Smith-led side head into the three-match series on the back of the 1-2 Test series loss to South Africa, while the Black Caps arrive fresh from a 2-0 Test sweep against Pakistan.
While the home side may have won the ICC World Cup 2015, its lack of depth in the format was evident during the 0-5 series loss against the Proteas in October.
However, Australia will be boosted by the return of its frontline bowling duo of Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood, both of whom were rested for the South Africa series.
“Australia are a very good team, we know that. But the focus for us is to play our best cricket and if we do that, we know that we can beat anyone. It is important for us to do that to give us best chance in the series,” Williamson was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.
“It’s also important we focus on one game at a time. We will look to get better throughout the series and hopefully that gives us the best chance to get the result,” he added.
The 26-year-old also insisted that it is important for every member of the team to understand his role and focus on that.
“If you are successful in that role, you will go a long way in contributing towards the team,” he said.
Australia will also be buoyed by the return of James Faulkner, Mitchell Marsh and Glenn Maxwell, who last played an ODI during the tour of the West Indies in June.
The trans-Tasman rivals have played each other thrice since Australia’s victory in the 2015 World Cup final at the MCG in March 2015, with New Zealand prevailing in the 2015-16 edition of the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy 2-1.
The Kiwis are missing two of its key batsmen in Ross Taylor and Corey Anderson, leaving Williamson to carry the captaincy and batting load.
The team is without key personnel on the bowling front too, with Adam Milne and Mitchell McClenaghan missing out due to injuries, while Ish Sodhi, the leg spinner, and Luke Ronchi, the wicketkeeper, have been left out.
Trent Boult, who has been included in the squad, sat out of the last Test against Pakistan with a knee injury.
If New Zealand, currently ranked third in the ODI rankings, secure a 3-0 whitewash, it could replace Australia as the No. 1 ranked side.
The Sydney ODI will be followed by matches in Canberra (December 6) and Melbourne (December 9).
Australia: Steve Smith (capt), David Warner, Aaron Finch, George Bailey, Travis Head, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Marsh, Hilton Cartwright, Matthew Wade (wk), James Faulkner, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazelwood, Adam Zampa.
New Zealand: Kane Williamson (capt), BJ Watling (wk), Todd Astle, Trent Boult, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Colin de Grandhomme, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Colin Munro, James Neesham, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee. (ANI)