Fresh off New Zealand’s most successful test year, captain Brendon McCullum is urging his team to start 2015 in the same fashion when they face Sri Lanka in the second game of their two-match series on Saturday.
McCullum’s side won five out of their nine tests in 2014, including their final game of the year, where they beat Sri Lanka by eight wickets at Hagley Oval in Christchurch on Monday.
“Yeah it was a good year and we are happy with the effort we put in,” McCullum told reporters on Friday ahead of the second test at the Basin Reserve in Wellington.
“But we’re not satisfied where we sit with the rankings as well so we want to keep getting better.
“This presents us with another great opportunity to continue on building on the good work we did last year.”
McCullum’s team are seventh in the International Cricket Council’s test rankings, yet had the equal best winning percentage in tests last year with Australia, who also won five of their nine matches.
Much of that success was built around runs from a solid middle order of Kane Williamson, McCullum, Ross Taylor and all-rounder Jimmy Neesham, while the new-ball pair of Trent Boult and Tim Southee have blossomed into world class bowlers.
McCullum, however, said the real key to the team’s success was all of the players contributing on and off the field.
“That’s the nature of cricket, you can’t have 11 guys performing at the same time,” he said. “We talk a lot about making sure the team is getting the job done.
“So if you look at it from a holistic point of view we’re going pretty good but we would still like to fine tune those edges and a couple of guys would like to get a performance in this game as well.”
McCullum said there were ‘slight’ injury worries over Southee (ankle) and Williamson (shoulder), with the opening bowler the more concerning of the pair.
Both would undergo a final assessment on Saturday and McCullum said the decision on Southee would be made with an acknowledgement the one-day World Cup was less than six weeks away.
“Tim will tell us. He’s pretty honest with his assessment and most of the time he will play when he’s not quite right, but in this circumstance he will make a pretty astute decision on whether he is right or not,” McCullum said.
“If we think he is a risk that is not worth taking then we won’t take it.”