from a probably unwanted New Zealand perspective.
New Zealand has 1 player in the 14 man World XI ODI squad. Unsurprisingly, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh have none. South Africa has 3, and West Indies, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and England all have 2. New Zealand has less players than every test-playing nation bar the two minnows.
New Zealand is currently 3rd on the ODI rankings. This is no fluke. If anything, you could argue we deserve to be 2nd. In the last 2 years (since the start of the 2003/04 home season) we have played all 9 test playing nations once each. We have not lost an ODI series to anyone except Australia. In fact, we haven't even drawn one. We've thrashed South Africa, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. We've cruised to tri-series victories against West Indies and England, and India and Zimbabwe. We won our (unfortunately) 1-off game against Sri Lanka. We even drew a series against Australia, before, of course, being thumped 5-0. That is the only series or tournament we have failed to win in this period.
As far as I'm concerned you can't just attribute this to "teamwork", "good coaching" or "attitude". We actually have some decent ODI players.
* Shane Bond has taken over 50 ODI wickets at 17. He has the best strike rate AND average in ODI history. I fully understand why he wasn't picked in the first place, but he is so good that he almost warrants a late call-up.
*Nathan Astle has 15 ODI hundreds over an 11 year career. He is far and away NZ's best ever ODI batsman. I don't think that Virender Sehwag's record gives him a compelling case to be selected ahead of Astle. I especially don't know if Kevin Pietersen really deserves it considering his brief flirtation with international cricket.
*Shahid Afridi, imo, is perhaps the very symbol of the continuing ignorance towards NZ cricket. It is, frankly, offensive to suggest that New Zealand only have 1 ODI cricketer better than Afridi. Jacob Oram, imo, is almost certainly both a better batsman and a better bowler than Afridi. Scott Styris is perhaps not a realistic selection, but even he has a better record. Infact, Astle could take Afridi's bowling overs and be a hell of a lot better with the bat.
Having said that, I can also think of several non NZers who deserve Afridi's spot.
I don't necessarily believe all of my own crap, I'm just offering one way of looking at things which occurred to me when pondering some of the stranger World XI selections, and the glaring fact that NZ has less players in the team than any other competitive ODI nation, despite having perhaps the next best record to Australia in recent times.
I also don't see why it is necessary to justify Daniel Vettori's selection by saying that he "has to carry a weak NZ attack". This is patently untrue in ODI cricket where pretty much every bowler we have used regularly in recent years has done a decent job. NZ does not need condescension and token selections ffs. We are beating everyone except Australia in one day cricket and it should be easy enough to find NZ players with ability.