Blundell surprise inclusion in Black Caps World Cup squad

1:10 pm on 3 April 2019

Wellington wicketkeeper Tom Blundell is the surprise inclusion in the Black Caps' squad for next month's Cricket World Cup in the UK.

Tom Blundell.

Wellington wicketkeeper Tom Blundell is the surprise inclusion in the Black Caps' World Cup squad. Photo: Photosport

Despite not playing any One Day Internationals for New Zealand, Blundell has been named as the back up wicketkeeper to Tom Latham.

New Zealand are the first nation to unveil their 15 strong for the tournament in England and Wales starting next month, with Kane Williamson leading an experienced batting group and Trent Boult spearheading the bowlers.

Williamson and Boult are among seven players who were part of the New Zealand's surge to a maiden final appearance in 2015 under Brendon McCullum.

Latham will be the first-choice 'keeper, with Wellington's Blundell promoted as backup after the more proven Tim Seifert was ruled out with a broken finger.

Coach Gary Stead has generally placed faith in experience, with the squad tallying more than 1000 ODIs between them.

A late bloomer at 28, he has played two Tests and three Twenty20 internationals.

Sodhi has headed off fellow-legspinner Todd Astle to earn selection, joining left-armer Mitchell Santner as a second tweaker.

Big-hitting opener Colin Munro has been retained despite lean ODI returns over the summer, while Colin de Grandhomme and Jimmy Neesham are allrounders.

Stead said the selection process has been well thought out.

"The most contentious points have probably been the back up wicket-keeper and... probably the spin bowling options as well and they in my mind have been the most difficult selection decisions to make.

"We felt in the 15 that we needed a genuine back up wicketkeeper and for us picking Tom (Blundell) was a direct replacement for Tom Latham if he was injured. And if that was the case then he can fit straight into the batting role that we see Tom Latham plays as well."

BLACKCAPS ICC Cricket World Cup Squad

Kane Williamson (c) - 139* (Northern Districts)

Tom Blundell - 0 (Wellington Firebirds)

Trent Boult - 79 (Northern Districts)

Colin de Grandhomme - 28 (Northern Districts)

Lockie Ferguson - 27 (Auckland Aces)

Martin Guptill - 169 (Auckland Aces)

Matt Henry - 43 (Canterbury)

Tom Latham - 85 (Canterbury)

Colin Munro - 51 (Auckland Aces)

Jimmy Neesham - 49 (Wellington Firebirds)

Henry Nicholls - 41 (Canterbury)

Mitchell Santner - 59 (Northern Districts)

Ish Sodhi - 30 (Northern Districts)

Tim Southee - 139 (Northern Districts)

Ross Taylor - 218 (Central Stags)

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