Cricket World Cup 2019: Blackcaps selection buck stops with Gary Stead

Ish Sodhi's inclusion in the Blackcaps World Cup squad was ultimately decided by coach Gary Stead.

The leg-spinner was in a season-long head-to-head with Todd Astle for the role as back up to Mitchell Santner, regarded by the selectors as the number one when fit.

Astle appeared to have the edge on Sodhi after his inclusion in the final squad of the summer against Bangladesh, but reports surfaced on Tuesday that Sodhi had got the nod.

One News reported that Kane Williamson had demanded Sodhi's inclusion ahead of Astle, but Stead told media on Wednesday that the final call was his to make, not his skippers.

"We consult widely in regards to selection and Kane is a big part of that but at the end of the day that is my call to make alongside Gavin Larsen and we are the guys that made the call," Stead said.

"Kane (Williamson) pours his information back through me and from there the selectors come together and have a discussion. 

"I think it is great that the captain has input because he is responsible for the players on the field but ultimately the decision comes back to myself and Gavin Larsen to make the calls."

Sodhi's attacking bowling was ultimately preferred to Astle's ability to tie down opposition batsman.

Stead said given they will be playing a majority of their games on small grounds, Sodhi's knack for dismissing quality batsman proved the deciding factor.

"That was a very tough decision to make," Stead noted.

"We just felt that Ish might have that chance to grab wickets at critical times and I think that was the thing that just got him over the line."

The other contentious selection call surrounded back-up wicket-keeper.

If fit, Tom Latham is likely to feature heavily, meaning the selectors decided to opt for the best available gloveman as an insurance policy. 

Despite Henry Nicholls providing a stop-gap measure at times during the summer, Stead said they weren't prepared to gamble at a World Cup.

Tom Blundell's expertise behind the stumps earned him the call-up over other contenders Tim Siefert and BJ Watling according to Stead.

"We felt the wicket-keeping abilities of Tom Blundell would fit directly into the role of Tom Latham and bat in that position. 

"Tom Blundell's ability with the gloves won that race.

"We felt that Henry Nicholls being wicket-keeper for four, five games was just too great a risk to take, so when you look at all 15 slots, we think with the balance we have now, we have the ability to cover across all positions. "


Contact Newshub with your story tips: