By Scott MacLean
Now that the Bangladeshis have been dispensed with, the focus – at least in the coloured clothing forms of the game – turns towards the upcoming World Cup in England later in the year.
But with only 15 spots in the squad there’s some hard calls to be made. So where do we at Sportsfreak Towers think things are at? Well here’s mine:
Dead certs: Kane Williamson, Martin Guptill, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, Tom Latham, Trent Boult. Form and reputation counts for everything.
Write them in as on the plane: Tim Southee, Mitchell Santner, Lockie Ferguson, Jimmy Neesham. All have done enough to drag themselves out of the dogfight for the rest of the spots, so that takes care of 10 places.
The first to decide on is the second spinner, which is a two-horse race between a bloke from Hamilton St Germain Northern Districts in Ish Sodhi and Cantab stalwart Todd Astle, and for me it’s not a difficult call with Sodhi’s experience giving him the nod. So that’s 11.
The remaining four places come down to a field of five; Colin de Grandhomme, Matt Henry, Doug Bracewell, Colin Munro, and Tim Seifert. Corey Anderson, Will Young, and Adam Milne’s names have been mentioned in recent days, but it’s hard to see them bolting their way in at this point.
The 11 above definitely needs another pace bowling option added to it, so that puts Henry into the squad. de Grandhomme might be a frustrating player but the upside of what he can do when it comes off could be that X-factor that gets us to the back end of the tournament, so he’s in too. The same can be said for Munro, who while out of sorts at present and has that nagging feeling that he’s a T20 specialist, does offer that extra something and having someone teeing off at the top of the order has proved a successful strategy in the past.
The final spot comes down to different factors. If you’re OK with less-part-time-than-part-time gloveman Henry Nicholls as the back up to Latham then you take Bracewell who can offer plenty in a utility role. If you’re not, then you take Seifert and he’s part of that mix you have to put around Williamson and Taylor in the order. Personally the thought of Nicholls being forced to stand over the stumps with the spinners operating is hugely risky so I’d take Seifert, even though we’ve never had to use a back-up keeper at 11 previous World Cups.
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