New Zealand announce WC squad, uncapped Blundell the only surprise

New Zealand settled on experience in a 15-man squad named Wednesday for ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, with uncapped Tom Blundell’s introduction to the team as back-up wicketkeeper and Ish Sodhi’s preference to his fellow legspinner Todd Astle the main genuine surprises in the squad.

Tom Blundell
Wellington Firebirds Tom Blundell in action during the McDonald’s Super Smash

Tim Seifert, an aggressive top-order batsman, was likely the favored possibility to back up Latham before enduring a broken finger in the last round of the domestic season while playing for Northern Districts.

So, it opens a door for Blundell to enter in the World Cup squad. Wellington’s Blundell found some reprieve, not having been given an opportunity duringthe ODI home summer. He midpoints a humble 24 from 40 List A matches at a strike rate of 78.88 with three fifties.

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Blundell, who has been in New Zealand A squads and scored a test century on debut against the West Indies in December 2017, was picked for his solid glovework, yet capacity to be a like-for-like substitution in place of Latham, should he endure damage. Also he’s earned his name as one of the finest wicket-keeper in New Zealand.

The other selection dilemma was between New Zealand’s two spinners Todd Astle and Ish Sodhi. Todd Astle was the most likely man to enter the squad as he was chosen over Sodhi in the series against Bangladesh. But New Zealand go for the experience by picking Sodhi as Astle played only 11 ODIs while Sodhi played 63 ODIs.

The rest of squad is as expected. Most of the players entered in the squad without any debate. Kane Williamson will lead the side and Ross Taylor is set to be the seventh New Zealand player to highlight in four Cricket World Cups. Williamson, Tim Southee and Martin Guptill will play in their third competition who have vastly ODI experiences with total 526 ODI appearances between them.

Colin Munro keeps his place despite the fact that he has some ordinary ODI numbers recently and is probably going to end up as the back-up batsman with Henry Nicholls slated to the opening spot with Martin Guptill. Jimmy Neesham and Colin de Grandhomme have taken the pace bowling allrounder spots with Mitchell Santner, who has recuperated from knee medical procedure, set to be the main spinner.

The pace assault comprises of the deadly four- Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Lockie Ferguson and Matt Henry.

“Similarly as with any squad named for a noteworthy competition, there’s must be some intense calls and there will be some disillusioned players,” New Zealand coach Gary Stead said. “The key for us was finding the correct parity for the squad and ensuring we had our bases secured for what will be an extremely aggressive World Cup. As a one-day unit we’ve been truly predictable in the course of recent years and have an experienced group of players, proven at the top level.

“The World Cup is the apex of cricket and to be the first team to name a squad for the World Cup is truly exciting. I’d like to praise every one of the players who are chosen for the tournament. To represent your team at a higher level like World Cup is a tremendous respect and I know the whole squad and support staff are willing to take challenges in the World Cup,” he added.

The squad will have a three two-day training camps which will take place in Lincoln on April 15-16, April 23-24 and April 30 – May 1. Then they will travel to the Australia for three unofficial one-day matches in the first week of May. The main team players won’t feature in this series as that time they will be at India to play the Indian Premier League (IPL).

“We will have three training camps through April which will include numerous players who are not in this squad as it’s imperative they’re prepared on stand-by by should we lose anyone in the number one spot up to or at the competition,” Stead said.


New Zealand World Cup squad:

Kane Williamson (C), Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Henry Nicholls, Ross Taylor, Tom Latham (wk), Tom Blundell (wk), Jimmy Neesham, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Matt Henry, Lockie Ferguson

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