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New Zealand squad for India ODIs: Half-strength Black Caps attempt to maximize resources

Hamish Bennett
Hamish Bennett

After a poor outing in the T20I series, New Zealand's ODI squad has also been hamstrung by the unavailability of some of their top players.

Rookie bowling attack

India would take a sigh of relief with the knowledge that all three of Trent Boult, Matt Henry and Lockie Ferguson are injured and their batsmen will not have to face them. While Ferguson is out due to a calf strain, Trent Bolt and Matt Henry are nursing a broken thumb and a broken hand respectively.

The last time India played an ODI against New Zealand, it was in the semi-final of the 2019 World Cup where the pair of Boult and Henry (particularly the latter) not only broke the back of the Indian top order but their hopes of qualifying for the final as well.

In their absence, Scott Kuggeleijn, Hamish Bennett and Kyle Jamieson have been picked. The three will have big boots to fill. Tim Southee is the only bowler in the line up with a wealth of international experience but his fading returns in recent times reduce the overall potency of the Kiwi pace attack.

"Tim Southee has an important job leading our new look pace attack, which has a huge opportunity against some of the very best batsmen in the world," coach Gary Stead said. "While the bowling lineup has a fresh look, the batting is very settled and we'll likely have the same top eight batsmen from the World Cup finals."

While Ish Sodhi will only be available for the 1st ODI, Mitchell Santner will be the go-to spinner for the Black Caps.

Tom Latham returns

Tom Latham, who sustained a broken finger in the Test series against Australia after dishing out some impressive performances, has fully recovered and will be back for the ODI series. As opposed to opening the batting in the Tests, he will come out to bat in the middle order in the 50-over format.

Henry Nicholls will open the batting with Martin Guptill as there is no place for Colin Munro in the side. "Henry will remain at the top of the order after impressing in the opportunities he's had. He's been in good form opening for Canterbury in the latest rounds of the Ford Trophy with a hundred and a half century to his name," Stead noted.

Latham has been one of the few international batsmen to have picked the Indian wrist spinners well. The last time the Kiwis toured India, he was a menace for them in the middle order.

The wicketkeeper might only average just over 32 in the ODIs but he has upped his game in recent times and will be vital for the fortunes of the home side.

Great all-round acumen

In Colin de Grandomme, James Neesham and Mitchell Santner, New Zealand have three quality all-rounders who they would expect to fill in the gaps created by the absence of some big names.

While de Grandhomme could not make a mark with the bat in the T20I series, he bowled exceptionally well in the third T20I and was in a way responsible for turning the course of the match.

James Neesham was not considered for the T20Is but he can prove to be just the man that New Zealand require at the moment. Although it is his consistency which does not surve him well, his talent in all the three departments is well known and this might be the series for the all-rounder.

Mitchell Santner may have got some tap in the T20Is but it is the ODI format which suits him the best. The left-armer is adept at keeping the batmen on a leash and blocking one end up. If he is successful in doing that in the middle overs, the Indian batsmen may come under some pressure of upping the ante.

Squad: Kane Williamson (c), Hamish Bennett, Tom Blundell, Colin de Grandhomme, Martin Guptill, Kyle Jamieson, Scott Kuggeleijn, Tom Latham (wk), Jimmy Neesham, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi (only 1st ODI), Tim Southee, Ross Taylor

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