Cricket World Cup 2019: Blackcaps coach Gary Stead not buying England hype

Blackcaps coach Gary Stead isn't buying into the hype around England in the lead-up to next month's World Cup.

The hosts will start as favourites to break a 44-year old Cup drought, but Stead's not so sure.

As the Blackcaps prepare to fly out for cricket's 50-over showpiece this weekend, Stead says the tournament is wide open.

"It's a tight, tight World Cup," says Stead. "Five or six teams could win, the way I look at it."

The favourites right now are hosts England, ahead of India and Australia, with the Blackcaps ranked fifth.

Local confidence has been buoyed by the side's lead-up form, including this week's big win over Pakistan, when they chased down more than 360 for victory.

But Stead isn't totally convinced.

"England have been playing a very aggressive side and they win some matches comfortably, but they also come unstuck sometimes. So, we have to think about ways of doing that to them."

It's the first World Cup in the UK since 1999, and England have never won the tournament, finishing runners-up three times.

Blackcaps quick Matt Henry's heading back to England, after a stellar summer there with Kent.

He says the bowling unit's all about aggression, rather than containment.

"Our key is being positive with the ball, making sure we are taking wickets throughout."

Sri Lanka are the first opponents in Cardiff, with England their ninth and final round-robin match in early July.

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