Cricket: Blackcaps opener Finn Allen returns home to rebuild international credentials after World Cup axing

As he sits in the famed Merv Wallace Stand, overlooking his new teammates warm up on the Eden Park Outer Oval, the home comforts of Auckland have proved a Godsend for Finn Allen.

"The timing was right for me to come home, to be in my own space back home and have my support network around me," he told Newshub. 

That support network has and will continue to be crucial for Allen, 24. Back in blue after three seasons with Wellington, domestic cricket is his focus for the time-being, after he missed out on the Blackcaps World Cup squad. 

Cricket: Blackcaps opener Finn Allen returns home to rebuild international credentials after World Cup axing

"It's obviously a setback," he acknowledges. "Working towards that World Cup for the last 12-18 months and not getting there obviously hurts.

"I think I've gone about it in the right way though. I've used it as fuel for the fire and these things happen.

"You can't get everything."

In the end, Will Young was given the nod ahead of him, a decision Allen believes, while painful, was correct. 

"At the moment, Youngy's a better player than me," he conceded. "Look at him bat." 

The numbers back it up. Young has scored two half centuries from his three games so far at the World Cup. 

"I don't know if I'll ever be comfortable with it [the decision]. Everyone has their reasons and it's someone's opinion, which makes it easier to get over, but it's always going to hurt. 

"They just thought Youngy was a better option. He's an unbelievable player and I can definitely understand their reasoning for sure. 

"There's other little things going on behind the scenes, but that was the crux of it. They went with the better option."

Better, perhaps. Consistent and more traditional, definitely. 

That style has been preferred over Allen's ultra-aggressive approach. 

"It's interesting, I get a lot of criticism, but all I'm trying to nail is the role that I've been given," he explains. "My role was to go out and be positive, and I just try and execute that for the team.

"Could I play a different way? Yeah, sure, and I have in the past, cut I just try and nail my role as much as I can with what I'm given.

"I cop a lot of heat for it, but at the end of the day, it's what I'm asked to do and it's what I'm trying to do for the team." 

He'll continue to play that way, albeit with a bit of refinement. 

The way Allen trains with Auckland is hardly what you’d expect when watching him play. He stands back, and lets others do the talking and parading. 

On this particular day, Will O’Donnell is putting on a South African accent, explaining how the Springboks may approach the Rugby World Cup semi-final.  

Meanwhile, Allen quietly walks into the net, and faces ball after ball from bowlers and coaches.  Fittingly, among those also throwing to Allen, is Martin Guptill.

If anyone knows what it's like to be dropped and publicly paraded, it's the former New Zealand opener. He defends off front and back foot, occasionally leaves, although still brings out the shots that have resulted in both success and criticism. 

Finn Allen dismissed against England.
Finn Allen dismissed against England. Photo credit: Photosport

Allen's own way of dealing with those critics? Laughter and leaning on mentors.  

Among those, Blackcaps captain Kane Williamson. 

Allen explains the validity, when questioned over the relevance of talking to someone like Williamson. After all, they're hardly similar players - like a blacksmith asking for sage advice from a sewer. 

"We might play slightly different brands of cricket, but he's got the base to do exactly the same thing. He's just too good of a player to throw it away as much as I do." 

Allen laughs at his own self-awareness.

"He just made it clear that it's important for me to play the brand of cricket that I want to play and that's how I'll enjoy it the most. If things do or don't go well, at least I'm staying true to the way I want to play." 

Despite selection decisions, Allen doesn't think he'll change his game too much.

He wants to add consistency and be a bit smarter with shot selection. He believes that’ll come in good time and hopes, with that, will come a return to wearing the black cap.

For now, he'll have to make do with watching the team on TV. 

“It hurts because I want to be there with them and I want to be contributing to something great that they're working towards now. It makes it easier seeing them do well, because they're my mates and like my second family at the end of the day."

Instead, it's his Auckland family who have him. 

Join Newshub at 9:30pm Sunday for live updates of the Blackcaps v India World Cup match