ICC World Cup 2019: New Zealand announce 15-man squad for the tournament

The World Cup will start on May 30 while Kiwis will open their campaign on June 1 against Sri Lanka

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Kane Williamson
Kane Williamson. (Photo Source: Twitter)

New Zealand, on Wednesday, announced their 15-man World Cup squad for the upcoming tournament, thus becoming the first of the ten teams to do so. While the majority of the names in the Kane Williamson-led side was very much expected, the New Zealand selectors did spring a surprise or two with their picks. The biggest surprise was the inclusion of uncapped wicketkeeper Tom Blundell.

Blundell, who has so far played two Tests and three T20Is, but is yet to play any ODIs. Moreover, the 28-year old, who scored a century on his Test debut, does not even have a good record in domestic circuit either. He averages just 23.8 and has a strike rate of 79 in domestic one-day matches. Blundell also missed this season’s entire domestic one-day competition and has only played one List A game since February 2018. His last international appearance came in February last year during the Sydney T20I against Australia.

Blundell made it to the team at the expense of Tim Seifert who is known for his hard-hitting skills. Seifert was tipped to make it to the World Cup squad after making his ODI debut in January this year before scoring 84 and 43 against India in the T20Is. However, the New Zealand team-management perhaps wanted a specialist wicketkeeper as a backup for Tom Latham and thus chose Blundell while dropping Seifert who also broke his finger during the end of this season.

In another big decision, the Black Caps have picked spinner Ish Sodhi ahead of Todd Astle as the second spinning spot alongside Mitchell Santner. Colin Munro has also made it to the squad despite his string of poor performances but is likely to be the backup opener with Henry Nicholls set to open alongside Martin Guptill. Colin de Grandhomme and Jimmy Neesham have been picked as the fast-bowling allrounders. Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Matt Henry and Lockie Ferguson were picked as the frontline pacers.

Tough calls for the World Cup

New Zealand head coach Gary Stead, while naming the 15-man squad, admitted that zeroing in on the final squad was tough.

“As with any squad named for a major tournament, there 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,” said Gary.

“As a one-day unit we’ve been pretty consistent over the past few years and possess a very experienced group of core players, proven at the top level,” he added.

The World Cup will start on May 30 while New Zealand will open their campaign on June 1 against Sri Lanka.

New Zealand squad for World Cup 2019

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

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