- Publish Date
- Tuesday, 10 August 2021, 8:56AM
By: Niall Anderson
The Black Caps have announced their squad for the Twenty20 World Cup over two months in advance, as part of an unprecedented move of naming three squads simultaneously.
With an aim to balance workloads and prioritise player and staff welfare over an intense four-month period of touring pandemic-ravaged countries, the Black Caps have named 32 players, and new coaches, to represent New Zealand in five upcoming series, as the likes of Kane Williamson and Gary Stead manage their significant workloads.
Williamson and Stead will be joined by the entire T20 World Cup squad in missing the tour of Bangladesh (five T20s) and three ODIs against Pakistan, while the likes of Trent Boult, Devon Conway, Kyle Jamieson, Mitchell Santner and Tim Southee will also miss the five T20s against Pakistan as they focus on the World Cup and the following T20 and test showdowns against India.
The test series is the only series for the remainder of 2021 that a squad has yet to be named for, while some of the Kiwi contingent will also compete in the planned resumption of the Indian Premier League.
With Stead absent, Wellington coach Glenn Pocknall will step up to international duties to lead the Bangladesh T20 and Pakistan ODI clashes, along with Northern Districts bowling stalwart Graeme Aldridge and former Sri Lankan batsman Thilan Samaraweera, while Black Caps bowling coach Shane Jurgensen will take the reins for the T20 series against Pakistan.
Those tours will introduce new faces such as Canterbury all-rounder Cole McConchie and Wellington paceman Ben Sears, but the most intrigue comes with the early naming of the World Cup squad as the Black Caps gun for a second international prize this year.
The tournament in the United Arab Emirates has demanded a strong spinning roster, with Santner, Ish Sodhi and Todd Astle all selected, as well as part-time options (and destructive hitters) in Mark Chapman and Glenn Phillips.
Jimmy Neesham and Daryl Mitchell are the seam bowling all-rounders, with Colin de Grandhomme omitted, while Martin Guptill, Tim Seifert and Conway are the top-order batsmen, as Finn Allen and Colin Munro miss out.
A familiar fast-bowling quartet of Boult, Southee, Jamieson and Lockie Ferguson have been picked, with Adam Milne unlucky to have only been named as injury cover after strong performances on the worldwide T20 circuit.
Ross Taylor, unwanted for T20 selection, was picked for the three ODIs in Pakistan, but with the brief nature of the one-week series and the length of quarantine, it was decided in conjunction with Stead that Taylor would remain at home to prepare for the Indian test tour in November and December. Wellington all-rounder Michael Bracewell also turned down selection for the Bangladesh T20s and Pakistan ODIs, as he awaits his first child.
Many of the snubbed players will have a chance in prior tours to stake their World Cup claim in case of injury, with the likes of Allen, de Grandhomme, Will Young and the fast-bowling options of Matt Henry, Hamish Bennett and Jacob Duffy all having performed strongly in recent T20s, giving New Zealand Cricket the confidence to go ahead with their bold four-month strategy.
"The need to safeguard the wellbeing of our players and support staff is now very real, and we've endeavoured to do this by carefully managing their workloads over this winter's massive playing programme," said NZC chief executive David White, noting the Players Association was on board with the move.
White also confirmed that the Black Caps involved in the prematurely suspended IPL would be allowed to rejoin their franchises, and complete the competition when it restarts in September.
"It's a pragmatic approach," said White. "We've always tried to be realistic about the IPL and this particular issue is very much a one-off, caused by a unique set of circumstances."
The first Black Caps squad will depart for Bangladesh on August 23 and the players from the test tour to India will return home and emerge from MIQ just before Christmas.
Black Caps Squads
Bangladesh T20s & Pakistan ODIs: Tom Latham (c), Finn Allen, Hamish Bennett, Tom Blundell, Doug Bracewell, Colin de Grandhomme, Jacob Duffy, Matt Henry (ODI only), Scott Kuggeleijn, Cole McConchie, Henry Nicholls. Ajaz Patel, Rachin Ravindra, Ben Sears (T20 only), Blair Tickner, Will Young
Pakistan T20s: Tom Latham (c), Finn Allen, Todd Astle, Hamish Bennett, Tom Blundell, Mark Chapman, Colin de Grandhomme, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Daryl Mitchell, Ajaz Patel, Ben Sears, Ish Sodhi, Blair Tickner, Will Young
Twenty20 World Cup and India T20s: Kane Williamson (c), Todd Astle, Trent Boult, Mark Chapman, Devon Conway, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Kyle Jamieson, Daryl Mitchell, Jimmy Neesham, Glenn Phillips, Mitchell Santner, Tim Seifert, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Adam Milne (16th man - injury cover)
September – Bangladesh (Five T20s)
September + October – Pakistan (Three ODIs, five T20s)
October + November – United Arab Emirates (T20 World Cup)
November + December – India (Two tests, three T20s)