New Zealand have announced their 15-man squad for this summer’s ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup.
Kane Williamson will lead the side and Ross Taylor is set to be the seventh New Zealand player to feature in four Cricket World Cups. Williamson, Tim Southee and Martin Guptill will be playing in their third tournament.
The biggest surprise is the inclusion of wicketkeeper Tom Blundell, who is yet to play a one-day international. Tim Seifert, a regular back-up in recent times to first-choice gloveman Tom Latham, has been excluded, partly due to a broken finger which has kept him out of action for the past month.
Blundell’s domestic white-ball record is modest – he has averaged 23.81 with three half-centuries in 40 games so far, though he has a Test hundred. He is also considered one of New Zealand’s most talented behind the stumps.
The other major contention was over the leg-spinner’s spot, and Ish Sodhi beat Todd Astle to the honour. Sodhi is the more experienced of the two, having played 63 limited-overs internationals to Astle’s 11, but the latter had been the man in possession of the slot, having played in the Black Caps’ last ODI series against Bangladesh.
Seamer Doug Bracewell, who featured in New Zealand's home season, was also left out, with several other fast bowlers competing for spots.
Coach Gary Stead said that there were some tough calls during the selection process, but felt the right balance has been struck.
"The World Cup is the pinnacle of cricket, and to be the first nation to name a squad for the tournament is really exciting. I’d like to congratulate all the players selected. To represent your country at a World Cup is a huge honour, and I know the entire squad and support staff are looking forward to the challenges ahead.
“I’d like to congratulate all the players selected. To represent your country at a World Cup is a huge honour."— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) April 2, 2019
👀 READ all of coach Gary Stead's comments on the @cricketworldcup squad here ➡️ https://t.co/H7SWl2ESSq pic.twitter.com/AkvwgwWTJy
"As with any squad named for a major tournament, there’s had to be some tough calls and there will be some disappointed players. The key for us was finding the right balance for the squad and making sure we had our bases covered for what is going to be a very competitive World Cup.
"We will have three training camps through April, which will involve many players who are not in this squad, as it’s important they’re ready on stand-by should we lose anybody in the lead up to or at the tournament."
The three training camps will take place in Lincoln on April 15-16, April 23-24 and April 30 - May 1. A New Zealand XI squad will then head to Australia for three unofficial one-dayers in early May.
NZ squad: Kane Williamson (c), Ross Taylor, Tom Latham (wk), Tom Blundell (wk), Mitchell Santner, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Colin Munro, Ish Sodhi, Henry Nicholls, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Jimmy Neesham
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