WELLINGTON: New Zealand Wednesday selected 15-man squad for this year´s cricket World Cup would be played in England and Wales.
The Kiwis seem to be more optimistic and would surely put their best to shed their tag as valiant losers and claim the title after exiting in the semi-finals six times and suffering a heavy defeat to Australia in their only appearance in the final in 2015. New Zealand will try their luck against Sri Lanka in Cardiff on June 1.
Coach Gary Stead said the Kane Williamson-led Black Caps had repeatedly proved itself at the top level and he was confident the consistency would shine through at the tournament, saying: “We´ve got a squad here of 15 players that we think can give us a really, really good chance of going far into the tournament.”
Wellington keeper Blundell was selected after Tim Siefert, the regular back-up to first-choice gloveman Tom Latham, broke his finger in a domestic match last month.
While Blundell, who has two Test caps, will likely make his one-day international debut at the tournament, his role will be marginal if Latham stays fit.
Mitchell Santner will be the New Zealander´s primary spinner, with Ish Sodhi edging Todd Astle to claim the second slow bowling position. The pace attack comprises Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Lockie Ferguson and Matt Henry, while Jimmy Neesham and Colin de Grandhomme add allround options.
Williamson and Ross Taylor, in his fourth World Cup campaign, complete a battle-hardened batting line up. Henry Nicholls is set 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 batting cover.
NEW ZEALAND 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