New Zealand opted for the experience in a 15-man squad named Wednesday for this year’s cricket world cup, with the inclusion of rookie Tom Blundell as back-up wicketkeeper as the only real surprise. The Black Caps hope to get rid of their brand as brave losers and claim the title after coming out in the semifinals six times and suffering a heavy defeat to Australia in their only appearance in the last four years. New Zealand is currently in third place in the one-day standings, behind England and India.
Coach Gary Stead said the team led by Kane Williamson had repeatedly excelled at the top level and he hoped the consistency would shine in the tournament in England and Wales.
“We have a team of 15 players that we think can give us a very good chance to get away in the tournament,” he said.
“If we play close to our potential, then we can make New Zealand proud.”
Wellington goalkeeper Blundell was selected after Tim Siefert, the usual substitute for Prime Minister Tom Latham, broke a finger in a national game last month.
While Blundell, who has two test caps, will probably make his international debut of a day in the tournament, his role will be marginal if Latham stays in shape.
Mitchell Santner will be the main New Zealand player, with Ish Sodhi beating Todd Astle to claim the second slow bowling position.
“(Select) the spinners was very difficult, and both had signs at times that they should have been selected … but at the end of the day, that’s my decision,” Stead said.
The rhythm attack includes Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Lockie Ferguson and Matt Henry, while Jimmy Neesham and Colin of Grandhomme add general options.
Henry Nicholls is ready to open the batting with veteran Martin Guptill after displacing Colin Munro at the top of the order, although Munro will make the trip as hitting coverage.
Williamson and Ross Taylor, in their fourth World Cup campaign, complete a battle-hardened batting line.
Williamson, Taylor and Guptill have collectively accumulated 526 ODI appearances among them.
Guptill and Taylor have not confirmed their post-tournament plans, but they are more likely to seek out the bigger cricket stage.
The Black Caps will open their campaign against Sri Lanka in Cardiff on June 1.
New Zealand World cup Squad:
Kane Williamson (capt), 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