Cricket: Blackcaps' aging golden generation front of mind for selectors leading into 2023 World Cup

It's a topic few in New Zealand Cricket circles will want to address, but an aging Blackcaps squad is at the front of mind for selectors as the next cycle of World Cups approaches.

Despite the Blackcaps' last 10 years comfortably standing as the most successful in New Zealand history, the current golden era is rapidly approaching its end.

In the last 18 months, Ross Taylor, BJ Watling and Colin de Grandhomme have all retired, while Trent Boult, Martin Guptill and Jimmy Neesham have opted out of central contracts to pursue club opportunities.

The Blackcaps celebrate.
The Blackcaps celebrate. Photo credit: Image - Photosport

What's more, the current crop of senior players like captains Kane Williamson and Tim Southee, as well as Devon Conway, Tom Latham, Neil Wagner, Daryl Mitchell and Tom Blundell are all also on the wrong side of 30.

The very nature of New Zealand cricket has generally seen older players be the ones to step up from the domestic game, with debuts tending to be handed to those in their mid to late 20s rather than be blooded at an early age.

And while younger players like Glenn Phillips and Finn Allen have begun to stake their claims as new regulars in the side, replacing some of the game's greats is always going to be a challenge.

For chief selector Gavin Larsen, though, plans are in place to make sure the Blackcaps can deal with the loss of personnel as best they can.

"We're always looking ahead," said Larsen. "We've been blessed over the last five to seven years where we've had some world-class players in our environment.

"[But] the facts are some of them have gotten a little bit older and have hit the back end of their careers.

"That's the nature of the beast. Our job as selectors is to make sure that we're always looking ahead, we're creating contingency plans. 

"Our succession plan is very, very important and that plan moves out five to seven years.

"We're [also] keeping an eye on our current crop of under-19 players, and who may in due course longer term, be transitioning through to Blackcap level.

"There's always lots of balls in the air, and it's a moving beast."

Meanwhile, two upcoming World Cups in the next two years has seen the Blackcaps take chances on new players in order to create depth.

With the 2023 ODI World Cup creeping closer, bowlers Henry Shipley and Ben Lister have been given their respective first call-ups, in New Zealand's ongoing tour of Pakistan and upcoming tour of India.

And likely to lose players at the conclusion of the next World Cup, Larsen states future-proofing the national side will always be among his primary concerns.

"We're always looking ahead. A big part of selection is crystal ball gazing and then trying to narrow down your thinking as world events start emerging.

"We've got a 50-over World Cup at the back end of this year, and then another T20 World Cup in 2024. We're already trying to keep some focus around that.

"This squad is an important one. We're just spreading the net a little bit and just looking at options as we start to look out for 2024."