Christchurch: Ace all-rounders Chris Cairns and Chris Harris were named on Thursday in a 15-member New Zealand squad for the World Cup cricket tournament, starting in South Africa from February 9. The seasoned pair missed a recent two-Test series against India and then the first three One-dayers of the ongoing seven-match series due to injuries. Cairns has scored 3,614 runs and taken 154 wickets in 151 One-day matches.
Harris has made 3,955 runs and bagged 192 wickets in 216 One-dayers. Chairman of selectors Richard Hadlee said experience was the main criteria for picking the squad for the "high-pressure" tournament. New Zealand is grouped with South Africa, West Indies, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Bangladesh and Canada, with the top three teams qualifying for the Super Six series. "The World Cup is a high-pressure environment and we have chosen some players, despite their recent lack of form, who we believe have the class and experience to step up," said Hadlee. "The recent injuries to some players, a lack of form from others and a series of relatively easy wins have made the final selection a lot more difficult.
The selectors ended up going with experience. "We have put a lot of pressure on the players and the players have put a lot of pressure on themselves. They have been on the edge. Pressure is all about accepting challenges." New ZealandStephen Fleming (captain), Andre Adams, Nathan Astle, Shane Bond, Chris Cairns, Chris Harris, Craig McMillan, Brendon McCullum, Kyle Mills, Jacob Oram, Mathew Sinclair, Scott Styris, Daryl Tuffey, Lou Vincent, Daniel Vettori.