New Zealand spring surprises in T20 World Cup squad, two players in team despite declining central contract
New Zealand has announced their squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup in Australia starting October 23 and has chosen to include pacer Trent Boult and all-rounder Jimmy Neesham in the team despite the duo having declined to sign central contracts with the Kiwis. Boult asked to be released from his central contract back in August after opting to play in T20 leagues and also for more family time. This was followed by Jimmy Neesham, whose news broke out very recently on Friday, September 16.
Meanwhile, Blackcaps batter Martin Guptill has been selected for a record 7th ICC T20 World Cup. The 35-year-old was included alongside debutants Finn Allen and Michael Bracewell, while pacer Adam Milne has retained his place in the squad after the 30-year-old was called in to replace Lockie Ferguson early in the tournament last October.
Kyle Jamieson is another player who misses out as he continues his rehabilitation from a back injury.
Before arriving in their neighbour's backyard for the tournament, New Zealand will first host Pakistan and Bangladesh in a T20 Tri-Series in Christchurch on October 7. They will then depart for Australia on October 15.
Head coach Gary Stead said the side was excited about the opportunity that lay ahead, “It’s always a special time announcing a World Cup squad and I’d like to congratulate the 15 players selected today. It’s especially exciting for Finn and Michael who are set for their first ICC events, while Martin Guptill is preparing for his 7th T20 World Cup - which in itself is an incredible achievement.
“It’s great to have this tournament so soon after last year’s event in which we played some really good cricket, but couldn’t quite get over the line at the end. With the nucleus of that squad retained along with the exciting additions of Finn and Michael, we should go into the tournament with plenty of optimism.”
Stead said the Tri Series beforehand should provide high-quality preparation for the World Cup.
“Along with the all-important game time, those matches will be a great chance to refine our combinations and game plans ahead of our departure to Australia.”
The Kiwis begin their T20 World Cup campaign against hosts Australia at the SCG on Saturday, October 22. They then face Afghanistan (MCG), England (Gabba) and two qualifiers at the SCG and Adelaide Oval respectively.
New Zealand Squad
Kane Williamson (c), Finn Allen, Trent Boult, Michael Bracewell, Mark Chapman, Devon Conway (wk), Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Adam Milne, Daryl Mitchell, Jimmy Neesham, Glenn Phillips, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee