Cricket World Cup 2019: Blackcaps named for England tournament

Wellingtonian Tom Blundell has been confirmed as the second wicketkeeper in the 15-man Blackcaps squad to contest this year's Cricket World Cup.

Kane Williamson will lead the team, which also features some of the world's top one-day performers, including senior batsmen Ross Taylor and Martin Guptill, bowler Trent Boult and all-rounder Mitch Santner.

With most of the squad already well established over a summer campaign against Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh, the two most contentious positions remaining were a back-up keeper and second spin-bowling option.

Cantabrian Tom Latham was a certainty behind the stumps and specialist batsman Henry Nicholls had been mooted as a part-time understudy.

That option seemed to fade, when Nicholls was never trialled in that position during the summer, but Tim Siefert, who impressed with the Blackcaps T20 outfit, also fell out of contention, when he broke a finger.

Blundell has never played the one-day format for New Zealand, but has one T20 outing to his name and scored a test century on debut against the West Indies in 2017. His unbeaten 107 was the highest test score by an NZ keeper on debut. 

Ish Sodhi has edged out Todd Astle for the second spin spot, given his greater experience and body of success in the limited-overs format.

Selectors still face questions over who will open the innings alongside Martin Guptill, with Henry and Colin Munro the main contenders, while bowlers Tim Southee, Lockie Ferguson and Matt Henry are still scrapping for two pace spots.

Many of those named are currently contesting the Indian Premier League.

"The World Cup is the pinnacle of cricket and to be the first nation to name a squad for the tournament is really exciting," said coach Gary Stead. 

"I'd like to congratulate all the players selected. To represent your country at a World Cup is a huge honour, and I know the entire squad and support staff are looking forward to the challenges ahead."

"As with any squad named for a major tournament, there's had to be some tough calls and there will be some disappointed players.

"The key for us was finding the right balance for the squad and making sure we had our bases covered for what is going to be a very competitive World Cup.

"As a one-day unit, we've been pretty consistent over the past few years and possess a very experienced group of core players, proven at the top level."

New Zealand are currently ranked third in the ICC one-day rankings, behind England and India.

The full squad is Kane Williamson (captain), Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Colin De Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Colin Munro, Jimmy Neesham, Henry Nicholls, Michell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor.