With World Cup in sight, NZ retain squad for T20 vs Windies
New Zealand's planning for next year's World Cup further crystallised on Tuesday with the decision to maintain 12 of their One-Day side for their two Twenty20 matches against West Indies.
Only pace bowler Kyle Mills and top-order batsman Kane Williamson were released from the 14-man one-day squad, who conclude their series against the visitors in Hamilton on Wednesday, for the Twenty20 clashes in Auckland and Wellington.
"We are keen to keep this group together but are mindful of the strong performances from a number of other players," national selection manager Bruce Edgar said.
"We are fortunate to be in a position to have a range of quality players to choose from."
New Zealand hold a 2-1 lead over the visitors in the One-day series after two impressive batting displays that included a world record for the fasTest international century by Corey Anderson.
The 23-year-old Anderson blasted a century off 36 balls as New Zealand smashed 283-4 in 21 overs in Queenstown to win the rain-effected third One-Dayer, while a more balanced approach saw them score 285-6 in 50 overs in the fourth match in Nelson.
Image: New Zealand's Brendon McCullum (centre) celebrates with teammates after a wicket
Photographs: Martin Hunter/Getty Images
Mills plays anchor role to restrict runs in the opening power play
The victories were cemented with a core nucleus of players all combining to produce when it was required.
The New Zealand batting line-up is ultra aggressive with Jesse Ryder and Martin Guptill opening, while Kane Williamson's patient approach will allow the side to build their innings around him before Ross Taylor, captain Brendon McCullum and Anderson take over in the middle order.
Swing bowler Mills provides the anchor role to restrict the scoring in the opening power-play, while left-arm quick Mitchell McLenaghan's job is to take wickets, even if his economy rate is more than 5.6 runs an over.
Nathan McCullum, who is also an accomplished lower-order aggressive batsman, is the first-choice spinner while Williamson, and now Ryder, will provide valuable back-up options when New Zealand co-host the World Cup in early 2015.
Anderson appears to have the all-rounder role as his to lose, while Jimmy Neesham and Colin Munro are likely to conTest the backup position in the World Cup squad.
The only questions appear to be whether Test wicketkeeper BJ Watling will get a run in the limited-overs side with Luke Ronchi looking to establish himself and should the raw pace of Adam Milne be given more opportunity to develop.
Image: Kyle Mills of New Zealand celebrates the wicket of Narsingh Deonarine of the West Indies
Photographs: Hannah Johnston/Getty Images
'We're all pushing each other and it's a good culture'
Former captain Daniel Vettori could also come back into contention, should he decide to continue his international career after his Twenty20 commitments in Australia conclude.
"We've got a good side at the moment and a strong base of players -- even the guys who aren't playing at the moment know their role when they come into the side and that makes it a lot easier," Anderson told reporters in Hamilton ahead of the fifth One-Day match at Seddon Park.
"There's a lot of talented guys sitting on the sidelines. That's always healthy -- if you're not performing, then someone will come in and have a crack.
"I think we're all pushing each other and it's a good culture; we're all happy when someone succeeds.
"We've got India around the corner, so if we can dominate against the West Indies and then put in a really good performance against India then that's a massive step towards the World Cup."
New Zealand T20 squad: Brendon McCullum (captain), Corey Anderson, Martin Guptill, Mitchell McClenaghan, Nathan McCullum, Adam Milne, Colin Munro, James Neesham, Luke Ronchi, Jesse Ryder, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor.
Image: New Zealand players (Left to Right) Corey Anderson, Kyle MIlls and Jesse Ryder
Photographs: Rob Jefferies/Getty Images