These are careful times for the Blackcaps and coach Gaz, to the point where with big churs to Coach Gaz, we can't really dig too deep into what he says publicly. That idea offers a note to youz out there to breez over any coach Gaz quotes as the mainstream media hunt for meaningless quotes. I digress; we've got a Blackcaps ODI squad to face India and coach Gaz has to play nice, keep all options open ahead of the World Cup.
To dive deep into analysis of what is clearly a case of everyone getting an opportunity to make their claim for World Cup selection would be irresponsible. After a squad of 13 was used vs Sri Lanka and only 12 lads played with Doug Bracewell absent in all three games, a squad of 14 has been named and the only legit insight coach Gaz offered was that Jimmy Neesham and Todd Astle could feature in the last two (of five) games.
Boil all of that down to a nice simmer and we get 12 players used vs Sri Lanka, to 16 guys who will be in the mix to play vs India. We need a World Cup squad of 15 and my belief is that it'll be Astle who is surplus to requirements, while the wicket-keeping situation is ongoing and the inclusion/absence of Tim Seifert could have a ripplin' impact elsewhere.
Zoning in on the squad to face India and we see the returns of Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner and Tom Latham. De Grandhomme hasn't been sighted since the Boxing Day Test, not playing Super Smash cricket and kickin' back after a fairly hectic schedule as he was part of the squads that toured United Arab Emirates and then straight into a Test series vs Sri Lanka.
We saw how de Grandhomme's UAE struggles weren't reflective of his ability as an international cricketer, however he still needs to show and prove in this ODI series. The Sri Lanka Test series saw de Grandhomme do that and after scoring 3 runs in 2inns along with a strike rate of 21.41 (the most non-CDG stat I've ever seen), while taking 3w in 22ov (3 games) with a tidy economy rate of 4.04; CDG needs to do some things vs India.
This is juxtaposed against Jimmy Neesham taking his opportunity vs Sri Lanka, as well as Ish Sodhi taking all opportunities under coach Gaz. I bring up Sodhi because if Sodhi's bowling well, to the level that he has been under coach Gaz, then Mitchell Santner's bumped into more of an all-rounder role, then impacting de Grandhomme and cluttering those #6-8 batting spots.
Neesham's injured though and is now getting injured a fair bit, while Doug Bracewell impressed in a one-off T20I at a 'unique' venue. No one should be judging Bracewell on that game and he must now impress vs India; Neesham's injury presents de Grandhomme with a minor sniff, then he and Bracewell start this series level with each other.
While both being 'white ball' cricket, everyone must be cautious when comparing T20 work to ODI work because they are very different beasts. You can't be lazy when comparing the two and need to get deep into nuance; Tom Latham's Super Smash features scores of 0, 18 and 0. Latham has been opening the innings though and as a Test opener/ODI crafter, Latham shouldn't be judged on T20 opening stats.
Latham returns at Seifert's expense and I'm most excited to see Latham link up with Henry Nicholls in the middle order. This middle order situation is fuckin' niggly with immense competitions for spots, the experience/batsmanship of Ross Taylor, Latham and Nicholls as a middle order combo is best described as solid.
With Santner on the other hand, we can take into account his Super Smash work because he's been playing alongside Ish Sodhi and more importantly, Santner's general bowling role is fairly similar between the two formats. With 7w in 22ov @ 6.77rpo in the Super Smash, Santer has a nice platform to step into the ODI team and while averaging 30 late in Super Smash innings, Santner has a strike-rate of 150; of the 15 batsmen with more Super Smash runs than Santner, four have higher strike-rates.
It feels as though the World Cup squad should feature de Grandhomme, Latham and Santner. They are playing for their spots, however I'm more interested in how their performances, plus the work of guys like the bro Doug, impact others and how the Blackcaps 1st 11 is shaping up.
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Peace and love 27.