Blackcaps vs Bangladesh: Todd Astle's omission raising more questions than answers

Todd Astle's non-selection in the Blackcaps' opening ODI win Bangladesh has copped criticism, with former international cricketer Scott Styris questioning the leg spinner's omission.

The SKY commentator suggests the selectors may not be bowling Astle in case he plays himself out of World Cup consideration.

On Thursday, coach Gary Stead confirmed to Newshub that the plan was to take two spinners on the plane to England.

If fit, Mitchell Santner is a given, which puts leg-spinners Todd Astle and Ish Sodhi in a head-to-head battle to accompany him.

"I think we are getting much closer to nailing down the players to take there," Stead told Newshub. "It's not about spots [left to fill] - it's about balance."

During Wednesday night's win over Bangladesh, Styris voiced his confusion around why Astle wasn't playing, saying he still had to prove himself, after bowling just 35 overs in eight ODI appearances since 2016.

He even theorised at one stage that Astle was being "protected" against failure. 

Stead refuted that claim, explaining selection decisions were made based on how they assessed the McLean Park pitch.

"We didn't expect the wicket to turn significantly and it proved that way," he said. "We selected the balance of the team to win that game yesterday."

On Thursday, Styris told Newshub that Astle's omission still baffles him.

"It says one of three things to me - Astle's already in the squad, whether they are not quite sure or whether he's out of the squad," he said. "Only the selectors and Kane Williamson will know the answer to that."

Astle's chance could come at his home ground this weekend, with only two ODI's left before the World Cup side is named.