New Zealand became the first team to announce their squad for the upcoming ICC World Cup 2019 to be played in England and Wales. The biggest change to the squad from recent series is the inclusion of uncapped wicketkeeper-batsman Tom Blundell in the 15-man squad. Blundell has been included ahead of Tim Seifert who had impressed in his limited game time but injured his little finger on the right hand on the last day of the domestic season while playing for Northern Districts.
Elsewhere, there were no big surprises. Colin de Grandhomme was picked up ahead of Doug Bracewell as the all-rounder, while Ish Sodhi pipped Todd Astle to the second spinner role. Grandhomme will accompany James Neesham as the all-rounder in the side, Sodhi will have the company of slow left-armer Mitchell Santner.
The pace attack constitutes Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Lockie Ferguson and Matt Henry, with there being a fight for a third seamer role between Southee and Henry in the playing XI.
The selectors have also kept their faith in an out-of-form Colin Munro, who makes it to the side despite not so impressive ODI numbers. He is expected to play a back-up role to the other batters.
“As with any squad named for a major tournament, there’s had to be some tough calls and there will be some disappointed players,” said the head coach Gary Stead. “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. 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.”
“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.”
Ahead of the World Cup starting May 30, the New Zealand squad will prepare in three two-day training camps in Christchurch in April before heading to Australia for a three-match unofficial 50-over series. However, players who are with their respective sides in the IPL are unlikely to join the squad.
“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,” Stead said.
New Zealand World Cup Squad:
Kane Williamson (c), Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Colin Munro, Jimmy Neesham, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor.