Cricket: New look Black Caps have little to fear - Franklin

James Franklin said the Black Caps squad have little to fear against South Africa. Photo / Getty Images
James Franklin said the Black Caps squad have little to fear against South Africa. Photo / Getty Images

Despite all the off-field dramas and their woeful Twenty20 world ranking, Black Caps veteran James Franklin says the side have little to fear ahead of their South African tour which begins tomorrow morning (NZT).

A new-look Black Caps Twenty20 squad open New Zealand's five-week long tour with a warm-up game against South Africa A before beginning a three match Twenty20 series against South Africa on Saturday.

Under new captain Brendon McCullum the Black Caps have five new players in the squad along with two other members who made their Twenty20 debuts at the start of the year.

Ranked eighth in the world in the shortest format, the Black Caps have played South Africa eight times since 2005 winning just twice, including a 2-1 series defeat at home earlier this year.

Despite that record and the fact they're missing former skipper Ross Taylor, Franklin said there is a new level of excitement in the side thanks to some "youthful exuberance".

"It's a fairly young team coming here so there's a lot of excitement as well as nerves, obviously guys are trying to find their place within the side but we're extremely looking forward to tomorrow's warm-up game up in Pietermaritzburg and then the first big game of the Twenty20 series here on Friday in Durban," Franklin said.

Corey Anderson, Jimmy Neesham, Colin Munro, Derek de Boorder and Mitchell McClenaghan have all been given the nod on the back of impressive recent domestic form. Along with recent debutants Michael Bates and Ronnie Hira, there is certainly a fresh look to the squad.

Franklin said the new players are "champing at the bit" to make an impact.

"They've obviously got no baggage and they just want to get stuck in and see where they fit in terms of the team and I guess international cricket. Being one of the older guys and more experienced guys in the team it's certainly exciting to watch them go about their business.

"I think it's crucial that we get off to a good start but also find out some combinations before the first game on Friday night (Saturday am NZT). There's obviously some new guys so we'll find out how they fit in the side, how their roles will play out because it's obviously important for Brendon to know where everyone fits before the big game."

Franklin said with South Africa also naming a new-look squad, the side had little to fear ahead of the series opener.

The likes of Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, Albie Morkel and an injured JP Duminy will not face the Black Caps.

"They're also missing a few experienced players whether it's through injury or rest. They've got a few new faces as well. I don't think there's too much to fear we just have to look after our own backyard, so to speak , and I'm sure if all our guys play well we'll walk away with a win.

"We've got to pick that ranking up and the only way we can do that is through winning so we're striving to start this tour off with a win."

- nzherald.co.nz

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