*UPDATED SINCE KANE WILLIAMSON HAS BEEN CLEARED TO BOWL AGAIN.
Here’s my New Zealand cricket XI in the event our team plays to its very real potential and makes the World Cup final on March 29th 2015. With the initial squad of 30 released today, I couldn’t resist quickly tapping out my selection. First, the 30-strong squad (which which later be whittled down to 15). As expected, Jesse Ryder has not been named.
Colin de Grandhomme
At 7 Ronchi is now established, veteran Vettori gets the nod over Nathan McCullum and Southee is a no-brainer. As for Mills, he may be unfashionable but most casual cricket fans have no idea how superior his ODI record is: 236 wickets from just 166 matches at 26.82. Combined with an economy rate of 4.73, Mills is a contender for the most underrated bowler in NZ limited overs cricket history. All of which just gives him the edge over the enormously promising quicks Milne and Henry.
*UPDATE DECEMBER 10 – Click here to read how Williamson has now been cleared by the ICC to bowl again (having previously been banned for a suspect action). The Herald article says this is bad news for the prospects of other batsman who bowl spin like Devcich and Nicol, but in my team it’s Neesham who has now (unfortunately) been cut.
Before the clearance of Williamson, the team had four frontline bowlers who’d bowl 10 overs with the other 10 shared between Anderson and Neesham, both who are young and can be expensive but can also take wickets. But with Williamson bowling again this puts pressure on Neesham to find form with the bat. With that in mind, Anderson should shift to 6 in the batting order and a strong batsman – namely Latham – comes in at 5. All just thoughts and my two cents worth!