Cricket: Time to make amends says McCullum

Brendon McCullum is thrilled to be back opening New Zealand's innings in the one-day cricket format and feels the time is ripe to make amends for two past World Cups in which he has harvested just 152 runs in 10 innings.

And he feels that to do that he will have to tuck away innovative shots.

"The previous two World Cups I played down the order (where) you've got reasonably limited opportunities to create an impact," McCullum said after a three-hour training session at Chennai where New Zealand will start their campaign against Kenya on Sunday.

"That's why I'm absolutely determined to play a role at the top of the order.

"Coming to India the best time to bat is when the ball is new."

Searching for a player to close out the innings, New Zealand experimented with pushing McCullum down the order in one-dayers against Pakistan last month but have now decided he best serves the side from the top.

"I think the whole process of our order and who is going to bat where and those sorts of things came from our selectors and now we have arrived in India and are pretty settled about what our line-ups going to be," McCullum said.

"I've had four years of batting at the top of the order now, those two World Cups were rehearsals as well, it's all set up for this, and I will focus on trying to play some influential innings throughout the tournament."

McCullum is well-known for some innovative shots but said he would be constructing an innings as an opener should this time around.

"There are times where you try and bring in some innovation but the majority of my game is going to be based around facing the new ball.

"Hopefully if I get through that and have a high strike rate, then I will look to take the spinners on in the middle stages.

"The thing about innovation is that it is mostly reserved for Twenty20, or for batting towards the death."

With McCullum, Martin Guptill, Jesse Ryder, Ross Taylor and James Franklin likely to fill the top five batting spots for the World Cup, Scott Styris, who has accumulated 767 World Cup runs at an average of nearly 70 - will come in at No 6.

He told the cricinfo website he would like to be batting higher but was now focusing on performing a role that coach John Wright and captain Dan Vettori wanted him to fill around the second powerplay and closing out the innings.

Styris said Wright had been an influential presence since he took on the role of coach two months ago.

"John's batting expertise has been the major thing that he has brought to the side so far.

"He's been great for the batters in the side because he's given them some clarity about how to go about their innings.

"We've got some tremendous strikers of the ball who are still learning how to build an innings since they are very young."

- NZPA

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