Cricket World Cup 2019: Tom Blundell earns valuable experience in warm-up games

Blackcaps wicketkeeper Tom Blundell.
Blackcaps wicketkeeper Tom Blundell. Photo credit: Getty

Blackcaps wicketkeeper Tom Blundell is making the most the pre-World Cup matches against Australia in Brisbane.

The 28-year-old was the bolter selected in the 15-man squad for the upcoming Cricket World Cup in England, earning selection as the team's back-up keeper.

The decision came at a surprise, as he's yet to play in a one-day international for New Zealand, despite featuring in two tests and three T20s.

Blundell is one of the few World Cup players currently across the Tasman, playing for a New Zealand XI team that has proved more than a match for a near full-strength Australian team in their unofficial ODI series.

Blundell contributed scores of 77 and 13no in the two matches, hitting the winning six in the second, and the Wellingtonian is relishing his time against some of the sport's biggest names.

"It was great to get out there and face the Aussie boys," he told Newshub. "They have a great bowling line-up and I've never faced anything like it before, so to get a decent score in the first match was pleasing.

"They have their full-strength team and we came over here knowing it was going to be a challenge, but we have to keep pushing them."

Despite his form, Blundell knows his opportunities at the showpiece event will be limited, as he plays second fiddle behind Tom Latham.

"I know I'm there as a back-up, but if anything happens to the boys, I have to be ready.

"It's about being ready and if my opportunity does come along, I have to take it with two hands."  

After losing the first of three games by one wicket, New Zealand bounced back with a seven-wicket win in the second match.

Blundell has also been impressed with the return of former Australian captain Steve Smith to the international scene.

The opening match of the series was Smith's first in the green and gold, since the sandpaper scandal in Cape Town more than a year ago.

Smith scored 22 and 89 in the two games, and Blundell feels the 29-year-old is hitting form at the right time for the World Cup.

"He looked pretty damn good. I think he is back to his best, the way he's striking the ball, and he made it look easy.

"It is great to see for international cricket, but hopefully come World Cup time, we can get him cheaply."

The third and final match of the series is scheduled for Friday.

After the match, the New Zealand squad will return home, before flying out to the UK next week for the World Cup.

 Newshub.

Join us for live updates of the Blackcaps' Cricket World Cup campaign

Contact Newshub with your story tips:
news@newshub.co.nz