The Champions Trophy seems a long way off for the BlackCaps as there is a bit of red ball cricket to play before then. However, June 9th and the match against Sri Lanka will come around quickly and we will all be settling in for a late night on the sofa in NZ, tucked up in our snuggle blankets with cheese on toast to hand.
If you look back at the last Champions Trophy in 2009, the BlackCaps did rather well. They put England away by 4 wickets to advance to the semi finals. Then they played Pakistan, winning by 5 wickets which put them in the final with our cousins from across the ditch- Australia. We posted 200/9 and Australia got 206/4 to beat us.
Lets be upfront about this. New Zealand has only ever won the Champions Trophy once. That was in 2000, against India in Nairobi. The past doesn't matter though, especially when you look closely at the 2002 Champions Trophy match against Australia. The past is exactly that, and it can stay there.
In 2013, BlackCaps fans have every reason to be quietly confident about our place in world cricket. We are getting better all the time, and the BlackCaps have just come out of an excellent home series against England. Talk amongst the supporters is generally very positive, quietly so, but definitely in favour of some good strong BlackCaps performances.
The BlackCaps squad now has an exciting mix of old hands with lots of experience, and exciting new players who are just coming onto the International scene. Some of these new players had their first taste of International cricket on the tour of South Africa in early 2013. We won that ODI series in Sth Africa 2-1 .
There is only one new player on debut for the ODIs- Luke Ronchi. He's a new New Zealander, having recently qualified to play for NZ. Ronchi played a few ODIs and T20s for Australia before moving to New Zealand. Look for him opening the batting in the ODIs leading up to the Champions Trophy. It's possible we may also see him with the gloves in place of BJ Watling in the short form.
ODI and ICC Champions Trophy squad:
Brendon McCullum (c)
Our bowling attack is exciting for the English tests, but in the short form it is even more thrilling.
We will see the return of the 'bouncy and aggressive' left arm quick Mitchell McClenaghan and the experience of Kyle Mills, Grant Elliott, James Franklin and Andrew Ellis. Colin Munro also makes another appearance, after a strong season with the bat at home, and also in South Africa in 2012/13.
The New Zealand selectors have said that the race for places on the team had never been so competitive, with all players fully fit. The BlackCaps have the experience, they have the skills and they have the desire to win. Now we just need to see them put it all together out on the park.
Look out Sri Lanka, the BlackCaps are coming your way!