Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
New Zealand have picked spinner Ish Sodhi and wicketkeeper Tom Blundell in their squad for the World Cup, which will begin in England and Wales next month.
Sodhi edged out Todd Astle for the role of the second spinner behind Mitchell Santner, who is fully fit after recovering from a knee injury.
As for Blundell, he claimed the back-up wicketkeeper spot since Tim Seifert is currently nursing an injury.
Opener Colin Munro kept hold of his spot in the side, but it remains to be seen whether he opens the batting during the World Cup as New Zealand could opt to go with Martin Guptill and Henry Nicholls at the top of the order.
“As with any squad named for a major tournament, there’s had to be some tough calls and there will be some disappointed players,” New Zealand head coach Gary Stead was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo. “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.”
To prepare for the World Cup, New Zealand will hold a number of two-day training camps in Christchurch later this month before travelling to Australia, where they will play three unofficial one-day matches.
Since a large portion of their squad won’t be available for the tour to Australia due to the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL), quite a few reserve players will be picked.
“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 will kick off their World Cup campaign against Sri Lanka in Cardiff on June 1.
New Zealand’s World Cup Squad: Kane Williamson (capt), Martin Guptill, Henry Nicholls, Ross Taylor, Tom Latham, Colin Munro, Tom Blundell, James Neesham, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Matt Henry, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult