The Cricket World Cup starts in just over a year and New Zealand's reconnaissance has begun.

Fifteen current or former Black Caps are contracted to 11 English counties across various formats this season.

That forms part of a plan so cunning it would pique the interest of Edmund Blackadder.

The country's top cricket brains are seeking to maximise the intelligence gleaned from the English game in preparation for the 46-day tournament starting May 30 next year.


Those counties have venues where New Zealand will play five of its eight round robin games.

The remaining three – Glamorgan's Sophia Gardens, Surrey's Oval and Lancashire's Old Trafford – are grounds where the players will either feature this season, or hark back to wisdom gained from the 2013 or 2015 tours, or the 2017 Champions Trophy.

The ethos behind the strategy is to cover all possible World Cup contingencies as New Zealand seek to emulate, but preferably better, their maiden final appearance in 2015.

New Zealand coach Mike Hesson is renowned for his forensic analysis of variables which can influence matches, and captain Kane Williamson leaves little to chance in his preparations. The pair know how to pan for cricketing nuggets.

Players might expect inquisitions on how opposition, grounds or conditions fared.

It's not as though anyone will reveal any treacherous secrets. This is all about maximising knowledge as part of the modern game's global village. Players are spending more time with international opposition, often in the same dressing room, since the advent of Twenty20 franchise leagues more than a decade ago.

In one respect, such familiarity means procuring a competitive advantage has never been easier, especially when set alongside archives of video footage. However, any benefit cuts both ways. Attention to details is more critical than ever in professional sport.

For instance, the experiences of Warwickshire veteran Jeetan Patel, and Birmingham Bears Grant Elliott and Colin de Grandhomme could be handy with matches against South Africa and Pakistan scheduled at Edgbaston.


Similarly, with Ross Taylor and Ish Sodhi based at Nottingham, they will be poised to expound on the pros and cons of Trent Bridge.

Conversely, with no New Zealand fixtures scheduled at Headingley, Williamson's nous ahead of a fourth season at Yorkshire might be diluted.

The Indian Premier League will run from March 29 to May 19 next year, possibly in the United Arab Emirates because the tournament could coincide with the Indian election.

Most IPL-contracted World Cup players will have flown to England a year today. That gives them a minimum of 10 days to reacquaint themselves with different conditions.

Expect any extra intelligence to be welcome.

New Zealand male cricketers signed to play in England this season

Adam Milne - Kent
Colin de Grandhomme - Warwickshire
Colin Munro - Hampshire
Corey Anderson - Somerset
Doug Bracewell - Northamptonshire
Grant Elliott* - Warwickshire
Ish Sodhi - Nottinghamshire
James Franklin* - Middlesex
Jeetan Patel* - Warwickshire
Kane Williamson - Yorkshire
Martin Guptill - Worcestershire
Matt Henry - Kent
Neil Wagner - Essex
Ross Taylor - Nottinghamshire
Tom Latham - Durham

*unavailable for international cricket

Other potential influences

Daniel Vettori (T20 Blast coach) - Middlesex
John Wright (T20 Blast coach) - Derbyshire

New Zealand World Cup round robin itinerary
June 1, v Sri Lanka, Cardiff (Glamorgan)
June 5 (D/N) v Bangladesh, The Oval (Surrey)
June 8 (D/N) v Afghanistan, Taunton (Somerset)
June 13, v India, Trent Bridge (Nottinghamshire)
June 19, v South Africa, Edgbaston (Warwickshire)
June 22 (D/N), v West Indies, Old Trafford (Lancashire)
June 26, v Pakistan, Edgbaston (Warwickshire)
June 29 (D/N), v Australia, Lord's (Middlesex)
July 3, v England, Chester-le-Street (Durham)

July 9, semifinal, Old Trafford (Lancashire)
July 11, semifinal, Edgbaston (Warwickshire)
July 14, final, Lord's (Middlesex)