Chennai, Feb 14 (PTI) New Zealand sought to put behindtheir dismal record of losing 14 of their last 17 ODIs cominginto the World Cup, saying that they are still a strong sidewho can win the coveted trophy.
Key players Brandon McCullum, Ross Taylor, Scott Styrisand Martin Guptill admitted their side''s dismal performance --bilateral ODI series whitewashes in Bangladesh (0-4) and India(0-5) and 2-3 loss to Pakistan at home -- but said they areready for the World Cup challenge.
They said New Zealand have done better under new coachJohn Wright who took over the reigns nearly two months ago andhis experience in the subcontinental conditions will comehandy for them.
"It doesn''t get any bigger than this, a World Cup in thesub-continent. The atmosphere will be electrifying. It''s myfavourite place to tour and I have performed well in theseconditions. We have been struggling of late but have beatenall the teams before. And we believe we are up to thechallenge of doing it again," all-rounder Scott Styris said atan open media session here.
"Wright''s experience and expertise in India will bevaluable for us," he said.
"John talks a lot about India, and has a lot of friends,especially the groundsmen. He might tell some of them toprepare pitches that might suit us," Styris said in a lightervein.
Top-order batsman Ross Taylor said the team had learnt alot from their twin tours to Bangladesh and India recently andhis side has the wherewithal to lay hands on the World Cuptrophy.
"We had some tough six months. But we have learnt a lotfrom it, and will try as hard as we can to win the World Cup.
When you reach the quarterfinals, it''s just three matches awayfrom winning the World Cup. Personally, the World Cup is bigfor me. In 2007, my World Cup was cut short by an injury,"Taylor said ahead of their warm-up game against India here onWednesday.
Explosive batsman Brendon McCullum said his side''s firsttarget is to reach the quarterfinals and from there onanything can happen.
"We are very optimistic about our performance In thesub-continent this time. We are very realistic in our approachto qualify for the quarterfinal and then look at winning thenext three games. We have the talent to do that," he said.
New Zealand were hit by twin controversies just beforethe World Cup -- Jesse Ryder lashing out at a team-mate ontwitter and Tim Southee being accused of lewd behaviour onflight for the mega event -- but the players said they werenot distracted by them.
"Both the issues were blown out of proportion. Obviously,there will be distractions, but we have to focus on the job ofgetting runs and wickets and winning matches for the team,"Taylor said. .