Friday, February 18, 2011

Brendon McCullum laments New Zealand's confidence loss

Brendon McCullum admitted New Zealand have forgotten how to win after the team were hammered by India in their second warm-up match before theWorld Cup

New Zealand recently slumped to a 3-2 defeat in an ODI series at home to Pakistan, and before that were on an 11-game losing streak. They lost by 117 runs to India on February 16, with dreadful bowling in the last 10 overs and a poor run chase underpinning another sloppy defeat.

They open their campaign on Sunday against Kenya and are in dire need of a confidence booster. "We have to face up to the fact that under pressure we aren't performing well. We just aren't getting it done under pressure," McCullum told Radio Sport.

Asked if the team had forgotten how to win, McCullum, who was a sole bright spot during the warm-up game, top-scoring for his team with 58, replied: "That's probably a fair summation. Someone has to flick the switch, somewhere along the line we have to get ourselves across the finishing line and with a W [win] in the column. If we can do that it will start to breed the confidence that we need.

"Until such time that we do that, we are going to somehow have to borrow some confidence to stare down those situations and dream that we are capable of achieving success in those moments."

New Zealand have a reputation for punching above their weight in global tournaments and have reached the semi-final stage five times in the World Cup without ever progressing further. In 2007 they were defeated by Sri Lanka in the semis but to repeat even that performance McCullum insists they need to up their game.

"[The India loss] has definitely dented our confidence a little bit, there's no doubting that. But we can't have that mental blockage or mental baggage heading into this World Cup. We have to ditch that quickly."

The team conceded 114 in the final 10 overs against India and McCullum was less than impressed with the showing. "It's unacceptable. I guess the effort is there but we have to be better than that and that's the brutal truth. We need to turn it around very quickly."

Captain Daniel Vettori missed the match with a hamstring worry but McCullum is confident he will be back in action soon. "It was more precautionary. I saw him running around after the game tonight [Wednesday] and doing a bit of fielding. It looked like he was moving freely."


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