New Zealand name squad for World Cup

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Wellington, Jan 19 (AFP) New Zealand cricket chiefsbacked their struggling one-day team to reverse a dramaticform slump, avoiding wholesale changes in the World Cup squadnamed today.

Chief selector Mark Greatbatch said the Black Caps had apoint to prove after losing their past 11 one-dayinternationals, including series whitewashes againstBangladesh and India.

"We have kept faith with the bulk of the team whichplayed the five-match ODI series in India and believe that,despite recent one-day form, the squad is very capable," hesaid.

"(They) owe it to themselves and the New Zealand fans toput in a huge performance at the World Cup."

Cricket''s showpiece event in India, Bangladesh and SriLanka runs from February 19 to April 2.

Greatbatch said the squad, captained by Daniel Vettori,had an experienced core, with six players who helped NewZealand reach the semi-finals for the fifth time at the lastWorld Cup in 2007.

All-rounder Luke Woodcock, 28, is the only uncapped ODIplayer in the squad, securing his berth with his strongdomestic form for Wellington.

"He has a good head on his shoulders and his selectionprovides the option of playing three spinners, which could beuseful in the subcontinent," Greatbatch said.

Injury-prone all-rounder Jacob Oram was also named, withGreatbatch saying his domestic performances after returningfrom a stint on the sidelines made the fitness gambleworthwhile.

Greatbatch singled out Jamie How as a batsman who neededto improve after failing against India but said his ability toprovide wicketkeeping back-up to Brendon McCullum had helpedsway selectors.

"Some might think he''s a bit lucky after the last fewinnings in India but over the last 15 months he''s actuallyperformed in the limited forms of the game at various levels,"he said.

Bowler Daryl Tuffey was the highest-profile omission fromthe squad.

New Zealand''s 15-man World Cup squad:

Daniel Vettori (capt), Hamish Bennett, James Franklin,Martin Guptill, Jamie How, Brendon McCullum, Nathan McCullum,Kyle Mills, Jacob Oram, Jesse Ryder, Tim Southee, ScottStyris, Ross Taylor, Kane Williamson, Luke Woodcock. (AFP)

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