Cricket - Duo give Kiwis boost

New Zealand begin their tour of England on Saturday morning, boosted by the early arrival of Brendon McCullum and Ross Taylor from India.

PA Sport
Cricket - Duo give Kiwis boost
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Brendon McCullum, left, and Ross Taylor, right, are set to boost New Zealand

Captain McCullum and his predecessor Taylor were both expected to join the rest of the squad after the three-day tour match against Derbyshire, which gets under way on Saturday. But both men were allowed to leave early by their Indian Premier League franchises, with McCullum already joining his side and Taylor expected in Derby later.

Neither is expected to take the field against Derbyshire, but the sheer presence of the side's two senior figures is a positive, according to wicketkeeper BJ Watling who told Press Association Sport: "It will be awesome to have them with us this week."

He added: "It's great to have them around and to get into the tour. It's definitely a huge boost. We've got plenty of time before the first Test for them to get into the groove. I think England will turn up strong and ready to go so we need to hit the ground running as well."

Among the touring party, few are as enthusiastic about the challenge ahead as spinner Bruce Martin. The slow left-armer, 33, made a long-awaited Test bow against England in March and went on to play all three matches in the continued absence of Daniel Vettori.

He impressed with figures of four for 43 on debut and followed up with four for 103 in Wellington as the Black Caps defied the odds to draw all three matches.

With Vettori still not considered fit enough for the longer format he could get more chances to take on England at Lord's and Headingley and he admits it is a dream come true to tour with the national side.

"It's very exciting, at 33 years old it's just wonderful to be playing Test cricket," he told Press Association Sport. "This is the highest moment yet for me. Every game seems to be another high at the moment and I'm just relishing every chance I get.

"Getting the chance to play at somewhere like Lord's and against an England side ranked number two in the world is wonderful.

"If everyone does their job and plays well I think we can beat anyone in the world. A draw was nice but we want to do the full job this time. Hopefully we can knock them over this time."

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