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Tom Blundell only rookie in the Kiwis squad for the Chappell-Hadlee series

Tom Blundell of New Zealand
Tom Blundell of New Zealand. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)

Wicket-keeper batsman Tom Blundell has been replaced by the injured Luke Ronchi in the Kiwis squad for their upcoming Chappell-Hadlee series against Australia starting on January 30. Ronchi hasn’t been in the best of nicks and would have been replaced anyway after a consistent poor run in the international circuit.

Blundell has been the only newcomer in the squad for the ODI series against Australia. The wicket-keeper made his T20I debut for New Zealand in the final match against Bangladesh earlier in the month after Ronchi suffered an injury. Opener Tom Latham is also expected to take on the gloves in some stages of the tournament as the Kiwis selectors look to have some stability and flexibility in the team ahead of the ICC Champions Trophy in England in July.

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“It’s hard to replace the experience that Luke brings, but it’s good Tom Blundell got a small taste of the environment during the Twenty20 series against Bangladesh and this will be another opportunity for him in the squad,” selector Gavin Larsen was quoted as saying by the Indian Express on Saturday.

“Having Tom Latham as an option gives the squad flexibility and allows us the chance to play an extra bowling option. He’s done it before for us, but well look to give Tom an opportunity to have a game with the gloves in the (domestic one-day competition) before the opening match,” he added.

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Ross Taylor is set to make a comeback after missing his last two limited-overs assignments in Australia and Bangladesh due to eye surgery. All-rounder Corey Anderson who is till unfit to bowl was left out of the squad as he was considered only as a batsman. Neil Room who made a scintillating return to international cricket has been retained. Colin Munro who scored a quickfire century against Bangladesh very recently has been retained along with Colin de Grandhomme.

“We have a number of options to consider in the middle order and having Ross and Neil in there gives the batting line-up a much more experienced look to it than the squad which toured Australia. Australia have shown how dangerous they are, but with the Chappell-Hadlee trophy on the line at home, we know we have an exciting opportunity,” Larsen added.

The series will kickstart on 30th January in Auckland followed by Napier and Hamilton on Feb 2 and Feb 5 respectively.

New Zealand squad: Kane Williamson (captain), Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Neil Broom, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Colin Munro, Jimmy Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor

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