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All-in on spin: Black Caps name squad for T20 World Cup, unveil kit

NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 29 Apr 2024, 2:52pm
Photo / NZC
Photo / NZC

All-in on spin: Black Caps name squad for T20 World Cup, unveil kit

NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 29 Apr 2024, 2:52pm

The Black Caps have named a strong 15-man squad to travel to the Caribbean and United States for this year’s Twenty20 World Cup.

Led by Kane Williamson, 13 of the group boast experience at a T20 World Cup, with the pair of Rachin Ravindra and Matt Henry named for the first time.

Ravindra’s call-up comes off the back of his success at last year’s one-day Cricket World Cup in India, where he scored three centuries and was named as the ICC’s emerging player of the year.

With conditions expected to favour the slow bowlers, coach Gary Stead and selector Sam Wells have gone heavy on spin options.

Aside from the specialist pair of Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi, Ravindra, Glenn Phillips and Michael Bracewell will all offer Williamson options with the ball, in conditions where spin has proven effective.

Bracewell’s selection completes his return after missing most of 2023 with a ruptured Achilles tendon, including the Cricket World Cup in India.

The 33-year-old made his international return in New Zealand’s 2-2 series draw away in Pakistan this month, as captain of a new-look Black Caps outfit missing more than a dozen first-choice players.

In the fast bowling ranks, longtime new-ball pair Tim Southee and Trent Boult will play at their respective seventh and fifth T20 World Cups, alongside Lockie Ferguson and Henry.

Despite being ruled out of the end of the New Zealand summer and the Indian Premier League for the Chennai Super Kings with a thumb injury, Devon Conway has been named, and will likely keep wickets for the Black Caps.

The New Zealanders also revealed the playing strip to be worn at the tournament, with homage being played to the sides of yesteryear that wore predominantly teal.

Finn Allen wearing the kit the Black Caps will wear in the West Indies and USA. Photo / NZC
Finn Allen wearing the kit the Black Caps will wear in the West Indies and USA. Photo / NZC

Finn Allen will likely deputise as the reserve glovesman, after doing the same during the home summer when Conway first injured his thumb against Australia at Eden Park.

Tim Seifert and Tom Blundell, who both kept wickets during the series against Pakistan, have been overlooked.

In the batting ranks, Williamson is joined by Daryl Mitchell and Mark Chapman as specialist batters.

There is no room in the side for Colin Munro, who was approached by selectors for the tour of Pakistan, but declined the chance to end a four-year absence from international cricket.

Jimmy Neesham has also been selected as an all-rounder, and will likely vie with the likes of Bracewell and Ravindra for a spot in the first-choice playing XI.

Fast bowler Ben Sears will travel as a reserve, in support of the seam bowling group, while Adam Milne and Kyle Jamieson are both unavailable through injury.

In the coaching ranks, Stead is joined by longtime assistant Luke Ronchi, who will mentor the batting group.

Former Black Caps all-rounder Jacob Oram will serve as the bowling coach for the tournament and boasts experience of a T20 World Cup in the Caribbean in 2018 when he was part of the White Ferns’ set-up.

Former England wicketkeeper James Foster fills the role of fielding coach as the final assistant to Stead, and rejoins the Black Caps after assisting in the build-up to last year’s 50-over World Cup in India.

The Black Caps are placed in Group C for this year’s tournament, alongside hosts the West Indies, Afghanistan, Papua New Guinea and Uganda. The top two teams in each group advance to the Super 8 stage, before the top four teams progress to the semifinals.

New Zealand’s tournament begins on June 7 against Afghanistan in Guyana.

Black Caps squad:

Kane Williamson (captain)

Finn Allen

Trent Boult

Michael Bracewell

Mark Chapman

Devon Conway

Lockie Ferguson

Matt Henry

Daryl Mitchell

Jimmy Neesham

Glenn Phillips

Rachin Ravindra

Mitchell Santner

Ish Sodhi

Tim Southee

This article was originally posted on the NZ Herald here.

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