The Cricket World Cup captains gathered in London today ahead of the opening match between hosts England and South Africa on May 30.

Before willow and leather collide, the skippers offered their thoughts on a range of topics.

We start with New Zealand captain Kane Williamson, who confirmed first-choice wicketkeeper and No 5 batsman Tom Latham will not play his side's two warm up matches against India at the Oval this weekend, and the West Indies in Bristol early next week.

Latham is catching tennis balls with his fractured finger but it remains unclear whether he will be fit for New Zealand's opening match against Sri Lanka in Cardiff on June 1.


If Latham does not recover, Tom Blundell will be thrust in to make his ODI debut.

"We are hoping he progresses nice and quickly and we will have to address it as the days go by," Williamson said.

While far from alone, the Black Caps' preparation for this pinnacle tournament could hardly be described as ideal.

Williamson's men have not played an ODI for three months – their last match in this format the 88 run win over Bangladesh in Dunedin, back in February.

Since then, nine World Cup members played various roles in the Indian Premier League; four others featured in three matches against a near full-strength Australian XI earlier this month.

After such extended time apart, pressure is on to immediately combine.

"Having a tournament on the other side of the world where it's a different season and our domestic competition isn't going on is the nature of the beast," Williamson said.

"To a degree that's the nature of the international game where it's constantly evolving and you're changing formats all the time.

"It's a big tournament on the calendar and preparation has been different for each team.


"There is that individual component but you want to see the team come together as a collective and that's the best way to build momentum into the tournament. That's what every team will be looking to do.

"It's very hard to simulate the exact intensity of a World Cup but we'll get out what we need from these warm ups. It's really important as a group we gel. We want to be playing our brand, our style of cricket, and focusing on that throughout.

"For us it's been great to come together the last few days. We haven't played together for a couple of months but the guys are really excited to be back and we're looking forward to the challenges ahead."

Australian captain Aaron Finch is, meanwhile, expecting a hostile reception for Steve Smith and David Warner as the pair return for their first ODIs after one‑year bans for their roles in the ball-tampering scandal.

Finch even had to brush off suggestions Warner held security fears.

"Not that I'm aware of," Finch said.

"Since they've come back into the squad over the last couple of weeks they've been fantastic and contributed as much as they can.

"Once the World Cup gets underway and for particularly games against England and further on after this tournament with the Ashes no doubt the crowd will play a part but that's expected. Anywhere you go in the world the fans play a big part.

"No doubt personally and as an organisation we've got things in place for that but their input and output with the runs they've been making in the lead up to this tournament they've been fantastic."

There were no major surprises as Finch and Indian captain Virat Kohli named England, the No 1 ranked ODI side, favourites.

"England have been in great form the last couple of years and, along with India, have been standout performers so you'd have to say England are definitely the favourites," Finch said.

Kohli added: "England are probably the strongest side but all 10 teams are very well balanced. It is a very challenging tournament. I see this as one of the most competitive World Cups in history."

England captain Eoin Morgan attempted to divert pressure.

"I don't think there's anybody head and shoulders above anyone else. In a 10 team World Cup it's going to be an extraordinarily competitive."

In an interesting aside, all captains were asked to include one player from another country in their squad.

South African skipper Faf du Plessis and Williamson both selected Afghanistan leg spinner Rashid Khan. Finch opted for South African quick Kagiso Rabada. Sri Lanka's Dimuth Karunaratne picked Ben Stokes. Morgan wanted Ricky Ponting on his coaching staff. Pakistan's Sarfaraz Ahmed went for Jos Buttler.

Those selections, dominated by bowlers, tied in with Kohli predicting this World Cup might not be the run-fest everyone expects.

"England seem obsessed with getting to 500 before anyone else and there is a lot of talk about someone doing it at this tournament," Kohli said.

"But at a World Cup, things are totally different. As the tournament goes on, scoring will become harder and pitches will deteriorate. If a side bats first and gets 260 or 270, then that will be hard to chase. I promise you, you will see 250 defended in this tournament.

"Chasing those totals will be almost as hard as chasing a 360 or 370 outside of a World Cup. Not all teams will win matches early on and some won't be in good positions.

"They will need results and when you need to apply pressure, teams may play a bit more conservatively. It won't be gung-ho from ball one."