On every call Bruce Edgar, the General Manager of Cricket Selection, and coach Mike Hesson have looked to the tried and trusted and I do not have a problem with that as the key thread and the basis for their choices.
As a captain, you would much rather be able to call on someone who has been there, done that and got the t-shirt ahead of a rookie, especially given the high pressure situations that are likely to crop up over the next few months.
Kyle Mills, Grant Elliott and Daniel Vettori are the most high-profile beneficiaries of that approach, but you can make a sound case for each of them being in the squad.
On the other side of the coin, you have to feel for Jimmy Neesham, Matt Henry and Anton Devcich in particular, all of whom have been part of the scene in the recent past only to find themselves on the outer at the crucial moment.
Neesham is the biggest name to miss out but, after the announcement, when I checked his numbers, I had to ask myself why it should have come as quite so much of a shock as it did.
His all-round productivity in 2014 – in eight matches he scored 63 runs and took six wickets at 55.83 each with an economy rate of 7.10 – simply do not see him demanding a place.
You need far more from a player than that, especially someone slated to bat at five or six, and in terms of his bowling, New Zealand have plenty of other options they can use instead.
Elliott has slipped under the radar and to many outside New Zealand he may appear to be a bit of a left-field choice. To the extent he has not been involved since late 2013 he is, but he has performed at international level before, is experienced and has strong form in the ongoing domestic season. He is a player in form and ticks all the boxes.
Henry has far more grounds than Neesham for unhappiness. He has done everything asked of him, bowling at a lively pace and taking wickets – 13 in four matches against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates last month – but Edgar and Hesson have opted for Trent Boult, Mitchell McClenaghan and Mills instead, despite the latter’s recent problems with a groin injury.
That setback came at a bad time for Mills as it allowed others to state their cases ahead of him but if the selectors were convinced of his fitness, as they obviously are, then he deserves a spot as he has been the Black Caps’ most consistent and highly regarded One-Day International seam bowler over a number of years. Throw him the ball for 10 overs and you know what you are going to get, match after match. The challenge for Mills now is to justify the faith shown in him and get back up to speed after his lay-off, something that can be easier said than done the older you get.
You could argue Henry should be in ahead of either McClenaghan or Boult too, but in both cases the selectors have gone with the more experienced player. Like Henry, McClenaghan is a wicket-taker and the fact he has done it before at a global tournament – 2013’s ICC Champions Trophy – has counted in his favour, while the resting of Boult for the limited-overs series against Pakistan in December suggested he was always regarded as a shoo-in. And although his white ball career is still in its early stages, the fact he has been such an incisive bowler with the red ball and is bang in form and confidence has been given real credence.
What I like about Boult, McClenaghan and Adam Milne, the man capable of bowling consistently around 150 kilometres per hour, as well as Tim Southee is that all four are wicket-takers and that will be the best way to contain sides during the tournament. Trying to keep it tight and hope the opposition makes a mistake will not win you this ICC Cricket World Cup. You could argue Henry falls into the same wicket-taking category and he does, but there is only room for 15 and he has been the very unlucky man.
Vettori has worked really hard to get fit for the global showpiece but his injury history means you cannot rule out a niggle here or there and on that basis Nathan McCullum has secured a spot as specialist spin cover ahead of the all-round Devcich. The latter showed promise with bat and ball in the UAE before picking up a shoulder injury but he did not do quite enough to demand a place, very much like Dean Brownlie.