Shane Warne, once public enemy number one in New Zealand, believes the Black Caps will be a dark horse at the upcoming Cricket World Cup in May.

While admitting England and India will be the favourites, the Australian cricket great offered his honest assessment on the Black Caps' chances at the World Cup, warning the cricket world to "write them off at your own peril".

"Obviously they're going to miss Brendon [McCullum]," Warne told the Herald while playing alongside the former Black Cap opening batsman and several other cricket legends at the 100th NZ Open pro-am in Queenstown.

"I mean Baz is such a great leader and he's such a great player, so they're going to miss him. But you know they've got some good players there at the moment. They're always dangerous.

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"[New Zealand] always do well in big ICC events and World Cups. They're always there or thereabouts. So write them off at your own peril. But I think England and India are the two favourites going into it."

The hole left by the aforementioned McCullum – who played such a key role in the Black Caps' last World Cup where they reached the final – is one of the biggest talking points leading up to the tournament for the Black Caps, with the opening batting pairing still up in the air.

However, Warne says New Zealand have good enough players and will be able to find their best combination by the time the tournament rolls around.

Former Australian cricketer Shane Warne plays a shot during day two of the 2019 New Zealand Open at Millbrook. Photo / Getty
Former Australian cricketer Shane Warne plays a shot during day two of the 2019 New Zealand Open at Millbrook. Photo / Getty

"By the time the World Cup comes around, everyone will know their best team. Everyone has got games leading up, they'll be experimenting with different batting orders – every team will do the same – bowlers in different positions, and all sorts of stuff just to try and find their best.

"But New Zealand will be fine. They've got good enough players to get the right balance in their team.

"They just go under the radar a bit. Everyone talks about other teams but New Zealand always do well."

In the meantime though, Warne was happy to soak up the scenery in Queenstown and enjoy the greens at the NZ Open where he has played regularly over the years.

"Everyone thinks us Aussies don't like the Kiwis but we love the Kiwis. They're very friendly," he said.

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"It's just a great time, the courses are beautiful, the people are great. You're playing with some good friends too, and afterwards you know just having a beer, talking about our great shots, that there are not that many of, but it's always nice.

"The courses down here in Queenstown, it's a lovely part of the world. It's beautiful."