Captain knows NZ must ‘hit the ground running’ at quality Champions Trophy.

Be bold and back yourself; that's the gist of New Zealand captain Kane Williamson's pre-Champions Trophy press conference in England yesterday.

Williamson is fresh off the Indian Premier League, where his Sunrisers Hyderabad were beaten semifinalists.

Several other IPL players have arrived, some of those who took part in the tri-series against Ireland and Bangladesh discarded, although a core will stay on as backup players for the trophy in case of injury.

The common thread you hear from players about the trophy - which comprises the eight top-ranked teams - is that it is a quality event.


Unlike, say, its big brother, the quadrennial World Cup, there are no soft games. The World Cup, which includes qualifying teams who aren't up to test standard, can produce dud matches. It contains much down time. In the 1996 edition, for example, New Zealand arrived in dreary Faisalabad, were beaten by South Africa, then had to wait seven long days to face the United Arab Emirates, whom they duly beat easily.

The Champions Trophy is a rapid, high-octane event, lasting only 18 days, with 15 matches.

"It's such an interesting tournament, such a short tournament that on any given day, things can happen that might be out of your control. You do need to hit the ground running," Williamson said.

This is not an event for conservatism, he added. It's about devising a strategy and backing yourself.

"You do need to go out and play with freedom, be prepared to take the game on and hope things fall in your favour," he added.

Williamson has high praise for the progress the global batting game has made in recent seasons.

"Our T20 cricket from a batting point of view has [led to] a far more aggressive style, where the ball is hit 360 degrees. If I put my captain's hat on, it makes it more of a challenge than it used to be when players weren't so innovative.

"It's a great thing that the game is moving so quickly and how T20 cricket has influenced other formats,which can only improve cricket."

New Zealand have two official warmup games remaining before they face Australia in their first pool A game at Edgbaston next Friday night (New Zealand time). They play India at The Oval tomorrow night (NZT) and Sri Lanka on Tuesday night.

New Zealand will feel they're in decent shape after their tri-series win in Ireland.

The top order batsmen are making runs, Ross Taylor and Neil Broom in particular, while Tom Latham may have won the opener/wicketkeeping slot from Luke Ronchi.

New Zealand will want to see good signs from their allrounders against India and Sri Lanka.

Corey Anderson, Jimmy Neesham and Mitchell Santner must demonstrate they are ready to contribute.