Fringe World Cup candidates have their final opportunity to nudge the selectors when the five-game ODI series against India starts in Guwahati tomorrow.

As two of the three selectors, captain Dan Vettori and coach Mark Greatbatch, are in the group, it won't be a long stretch to reach their ribs.

New Zealand's squad for the tournament on the subcontinent from mid-February will be named on January 19, three days before the start of Pakistan's six ODIs in New Zealand.

That Pakistan series will then be the final Cup shakedown for the chosen players.

Therefore the clock is ticking loudly in the ears of players like Martin Guptill, Jamie How, recalled to the colours after a 22-month absence, allrounder James Franklin and seamers, left armer Andy McKay and veteran Daryl Tuffey.

"As a team you don't want to fiddle too much but it's only inevitable it's going to be in the back of people's minds," Vettori said from Guwahati last night.

"If they perform well they'll book a trip to the World Cup.

"Hopefully it's about winning here, and a byproduct of that is going to the World Cup."

Vettori and key batsman Brendon McCullum are likely to sit out the opening ODI.

McCullum damaged his back minutes before the start of the third test in Nagpur and Vettori confirmed a conservative approach would be taken with the limited-overs gloveman and dashing opener.

That means an ODI appearance for test wicketkeeper Gareth Hopkins.

Vettori admitted to being "a little tender" after getting through 200 overs in the three tests against India.

How and Guptill - who has managed just 96 runs in his last eight ODI innings - get their chance at the top with the other regular ODI opener, Jesse Ryder, injured again and with his feet up back home.

Vettori said although there was a better feeling among the group after the tests than following the embarrassing 4-0 ODI loss in Bangladesh which preceded the Indian trip, "we're not getting too carried away; it was two draws and a loss".

India have rested their senior players, captain MS Dhoni, Sachin Tendulkar, Virendar Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan before their test trip to South Africa.

Still they'll be formidable, with batsmen like Gautam Gambhir, who will captain India, Suresh Raina, Murali Vijay, beefy allrounder Yuvraj Singh and late-innings slugger Yusuf Pathan, supported by decent fast-medium bowlers led by Sreesanth and Ashish Nehra.

Vettori doesn't take India's selection as any mark of disrespect towards New Zealand.

"Their schedule is so incredible if they don't [rest players] they'll run out of a squad by the time of the World Cup," he said. "We've done it before and because we know all these players from the Indian Premier League, there's no real surprises for us."

The teams
New Zealand ODI squad:Dan Vettori (c), Brendon McCullum, Martin Guptill, Jamie How, Ross Taylor, Scott Styris, Grant Elliott, Kane Williamson, James Franklin, Gareth Hopkins, Nathan McCullum, Kyle Mills, Daryl Tuffey, Tim Southee, Andy McKay.

Indian squad for first two ODIs: Gautam Gambhir (c), Murali Vijay, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Saurabh Tiwary, Wriddhiman Saha, R. Ashwin, Ashish Nehra, Vinay Kumar, Munaf Patel, Sreesanth, Yusuf Pathan, Ravindra Jadeja.

ODI schedule:
Tomorrow: First ODI, Guwahati, starts 3.45pm tomorrow, Live SS1

Wednesday: Second ODI, Jaipur

Saturday: Third ODI, Baroda

Dec 7: Fourth ODI, Bangalore

Dec 10: Fifth ODI, Chennai