Uncapped Blundell named in New Zealand World Cup squad, Sodhi preferred to Astle

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AFP

New Zealand have announced their 15-man squad for this summer’s Men’s Cricket World Cup.

The biggest surprise is the inclusion of wicketkeeper Tom Blundell, who is yet to play a One Day International. Tim Seifert, regular back-up in recent times to first-choice gloveman Tom Latham, has been excluded, partly due to a broken finger which has kept him out of action for the past month.

Blundell’s domestic white-ball record is modest – he has averaged 23.81 with three half-centuries in 40 games so far, though the fact that he has a Test hundred suggests cracking the top level isn’t beyond him. He is also considered as one of New Zealand’s most talented behind the stumps.

Blundell is uncapped in ODIs, but has played Tests and T20Is
Blundell is uncapped in ODIs, but has played Tests and T20Is

The other major area for debate was over who would take the leg-spinner’s spot, with Ish Sodhi beating Todd Astle to the honour. Sodhi is the more experienced of the two, having played 63 limited-overs internationals to Astle’s 11, but the latter had been the man in possession, having played in the Black Caps’ last ODI series against Bangladesh.

The other player left out who featured in New Zealand’s home season is seamer Doug Bracewell, with the Kiwis having a bevy of other fast bowlers to call upon.

NZ Squad

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