To prepare your loins for Blackcaps World Cup antics, here is a hard and fast geeze at each player and their CWC vibes.
Contender for leading run-scorer, not quite as inspiring as B-Mac was in the leadership role. Could hit a new level of appreciation if Williamson can lead with his willow to take the Blackcaps deep into the World Cup and there may not be a batsman as important to their team's success as Williamson with Aotearoa.
Yet to play an ODI and the representative of Aotearoa's deep wicket-keeping/batsmen stocks. Blundell shouldn't play a game if Tom Latham's healthy and if Blundell does play, he'll bat in the middle order. Could be fascinating to see how Blundell deals with pressure and the big stage if batting in that situation.
A star of the last World Cup, Boult will ideally back that up with another dominant campaign. As a classy operator, Boult will find ways to be relevant when the ball isn't moving around too much and the possibility of Boult taking 2-3 wickets every game could put the Blackcaps in strong positions. Like Williamson with his runs, Boult needs to take wickets.
Colin de Grandhomme
Capable of being an immense x-factor with bat and ball, unlikely to be an immense x-factor with bat and ball. CDG's bowling isn't ideal when batsmen are going nuts on flat pitches, yet CDG loves a whack and could be the difference in scoring those 30-50 runs down the order. Really hope CDG goes well, it's just that he's super tame and has done little to command expectations ... may struggle to crack the 1st 11 as well. Take the under on 3.5 games played.
Speed can be destructive or get smacked for lots of boundaries. If Ferguson is good enough to use his speed as a weapon, he could emerge as a key figure for Aotearoa. We have all seen a fair bit of Ferguson as kiwi cricket fans and in this World Cup we will see if Ferguson has the ability to step up, execute a range of skills under pressure and be a factor. Otherwise, Ferguson will be leaking 8rpo. I'm genuinely looking forward to seeing what Ferguson could be capable of.
First and foremost is that Guppy needs all the herbal remedies and good vibes sent to him to stay injury free. As the perfect type of batsman for the predicted conditions, there is serious Guppy optimism and there's a big difference between a Blackcaps team headlined by Williamson/Taylor and Williamson/Taylor/Guptill. With the class to counter good bowling early, Guptill is the Blackcaps x-factor and is also the gauge-guy as Guppy's vibe will be reflected throughout the team; if Guppy's hot and confident, boom.
The underground king who needs to make his claim for the throne. Everyone loves to talk about how good Henry is and that's earned by Henry, who has climbed the ranks to be in a battle with Tim Southee for selection. My low key most interesting Blackcaps situation is if Henry has that extra splash of nous to be a factor against the world's best. Henry has been brewing, simmering for a long time and now we see if Henry's can tap into new potential.
Ideally, Latham is the rock of the middle order. Smooth, with shots all around the wicket including a nice sweeping game, Latham is well designed to deal with rebuilding an innings in the middle stages. Not a crucial figure, but someone who provides an extra layer of comfort when in the batting line up and a good World Cup for Latham would involve runs when the like of Williamson, Taylor or Guptill don't score runs.
Bruh. Is Munro legit good enough to be a whacker at this level? Huge question that I am fizzing to see play out during this World Cup - could get shafted out of his opening role though.
All Neesham talks about is his bowling and his role in this team as a bowler, however I'm interested in his batting work. Bank on Neesham getting wickets here and there, probably important wickets and most likely via some seemingly mediocre deliveries because that's what Neesham does. Batting in the middle order though, Neesham has the craft to push the ball around if early wickets are lost and I'm interested in how Neesham's power translates to a World Cup against the best bowlers. Possible high upside guy, who could play a couple key innings and take weird wickets.
Maybe opener, maybe #6, maybe lots of quality runs, maybe a fizzler. Nicholls may feel like a solid batsman who will be low key influential, however I'm more intrigued as to how Nicholls deals with the whole World Cup circus. Like Henry, Nicholls has earned his stripes in Aotearoa and the talent is blatant, in Aotearoa and these two are the ultimate 'can you hit the nek level' guys. If the Blackcaps reach the semi-finals, Nicholls will have scored a sneaky impressive amount of runs.
Can Santner's lefty-tweakers stop the world's best batsmen? The flight and change of pace from Santner will be his main weapons, which will need to be implemented strongly as I have a feeling that opposition teams will target Santner as a 6-8rpo guy. We know Santner as the tight bowler, which presents an enticing situation for a kiwi cricketer who has enjoyed a fairly cosy ride into and with the Blackcaps.
Possible x-factor guy, who should bowl alongside Santner. The two spinners thing is a point of difference for the Blackcaps and they will be their most potent, together. Sodhi has played a lot of white ball cricket in England and tends to do well when batsmen are on the attack, while also being respected for zipping the ball both ways. Will Aotearoa be brave enough to select Sodhi consistently? Nearly every other team has a leggy btw.
This is a major moment in the career of Tim Southee and no one knows how this World Cup will pan out for someone who could go down in history as a kiwi legend. Southee needs to wiggle his way in to the 1st 11, then and only then is it a matter of how Southee performs. If the ball ain't swinging, Southee could be a sitting duck and perhaps we'll be witnessing his decline. There is potential upside though, if the ball is moving and also if Southee has the tools to be a factor without much movement. Huge 'could go either way' vibes with Southee.
I just want to see King Rossco scoring runs and everyone having a jolly ol' time. Taylor's tempo in scoring runs will be crucial to the Blackcaps as he plays with intent from ball tahi and that can be niggly to bowl to in a variety of different circumstances. Aotearoa don't need Taylor to be the leading run-scorer, it's all about timely knocks with Taylor and when he turns it on.
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Peace and love 27.