The perfect scenario would be 5 specialist batsmen, 4 bowlers, a keeper and an all-rounder. In reality, you need a few bit part allrounders to give you cover with both bat and ball; traditionally a New Zealand strength.
Who thought that in 2017 we are yearning for the days of Nathan Astle, the bowler?
This is an issue.
You look around the scene at the moment and the cupboard is surprisingly bare. Here is the cupboard
Jimmy Neesham He made his test debut as a bowling all-rounder; he batted at #8 in his first ODI, and #9 in his second.
Yet in his 30 ODIs (count them) he has contributed an average of just over 5 overs per match, and has bowled the full quota just twice. His career run-rate is comfortably in excess of 6 RPO and he is known for the trademark four ball once an over.
He has talent, but in those four years he has not developed a Yorker, a slower ball, that cross seamed delivery or anything that swings. He has openly mused about playing as a specialist batsman. You wonder if the heart is really in this all-rounder gig.
Having said that, he’s good on the radio.
Corey J Anderson When did he last bowl? A lot of the comments above can be applied to Anderson
His slugging ability means he gets selected for NZ T20 sides as a batsman and, more importantly, Mumbai in the IPL. There is not a lot of motivation for him to sort out his bowling; protect that back.
Colin Munro Speaking of people with a focus on being a T20 freelancer, he isn’t really international quality in either discipline. He has his fervent disciples, but the evidence is pretty compelling when it comes to batting against top sides in semi bowler friendly conditions. And his bowling falls well short of the likes of historical fiddlers like Astle, Elliott and Coney, and probably even Craig McMillan.
Colin de Grandhomme At least he makes the most of his abilities. He gives it all and was apparently included ahead of Neesham for the Pakistan tests because you could rely on more overs per day out of him if things got tough. The 6/42 on debut was a wonderful bonus, but will be best remembered in Pub Trivia questions in years to come.
Others mentioned in dispatches.
George Worker The drums are sure beating for him following that 181 got Central Districts over the weekend. But Pukekura Park comes with a fistful of asterisks. And, from all accounts his bowling is not up to the standard of Kane Williamson which would indicate that’s not really the answer.
He got another four wickets today which will keep the hype going.
Scott Kuggeleijn Unavailable for selection.
Jesse Ryder Has just signed up for the Galaxy Gladiators of the Hong Kong T20 competition.
And then there’s the wicket-keeper situation where New Zealand’s fastest improving test batting talent (and test opening reliability is so hard to find) is being asked to be something completely different. He kept very well, but don’t break what is not broken. Latham is still learning the ODI game as it is.
Incidentally, New Zealand has used five different keepers in white ball cricket over the last couple of months.
This new-found reliance on specialists seems so odd.