Rank­ing the Black Caps

The Press - - Sport - MARK GEENTY and IAN AN­DER­SON

OPIN­ION: We know now who the top 20 are – but where do they sit?

New Zealand Cricket’s 20 con­tracted play­ers, named yes­ter­day, in­cluded no sur­prises. They’re ranked by coach Mike Hes­son and chief se­lec­tor Gavin Larsen across all three for­mats, with tests re­ceiv­ing twice the weight­ing of one-day in­ter­na­tion­als and Twenty20 in­ter­na­tion­als.

Here’s a likely peck­ing or­der. Kane Wil­liamson 1: Cap­tain and most in­flu­en­tial player with the bat. Tak­ing his Twenty20 game to a new level in In­dia, too.

Trent Boult 2: So good in all three for­mats last home sum­mer he pushed Wil­liamson for the top spot. Ross Tay­lor 3: Still a match­win­ner and forms the core of the test and ODI bat­ting line­ups. If he’s ab­sent the Black Caps look a lot weaker. Tim Southee 4: Over­shad­owed by Boult over sum­mer but his per­for­mances were still good and a first-choice in all three for­mats. Colin de Grand­homme 5: Hard to think two sea­sons back that the quiet all­rounder would be NZ’s fifth­most im­por­tant player. But he is. Has con­trib­uted with bat and ball in tests and can change a lim­ite­dovers match quickly.

Mitchell Sant­ner 6: Made im­pres­sive strides with the bat and still the se­lec­tors’ first-choice spin­ner in all three for­mats.

Tom Latham 7: Clearly the pre­ferred ODI glove­man and un­chal­lenged as test opener, but doesn’t fea­ture in T20 which shuf­fles him down a slot or two. Henry Ni­cholls 8: En­sconced in test and ODI sides and has a knack for pro­duc­ing an in­flu­en­tial in­nings when his spot is un­der ques­tion. Martin Gup­till 9: Still a big fea­ture of the ODI and T20 sides and could yet force his way into the test mid­dle-or­der.

Neil Wag­ner 10: Only plays tests but un­der no pres­sure for his spot af­ter more lion-hearted spells against Eng­land.

BJ Watling 11: Also tests only, and in­jury lim­ited his past sum­mer. Un­der pres­sure from some ris­ing gloves­men who can also bat.

Jeet Raval 12: Poor test se­ries against Eng­land but with a lack of chal­lengers his place at the top isn’t yet un­der threat.

Todd As­tle 13: Nailed his cameos in the test and ODI side and with his bat­ting just shades Ish Sodhi in the peck­ing or­der as sec­ond spin­ner for Pak­istan in the UAE.

Ish Sodhi 14: A T20 star, be­hind As­tle in the test leg­gie peck­ing or­der and du­elling for a World Cup spot.

Colin Munro 15: White-ball player only and un­der pres­sure as an ODI opener, but one of the first picked in the T20 side. Still a chance to make the World Cup squad.

Corey An­der­son 16: Al­most im­pos­si­ble to rank due to in­jury. Matt Henry 17: Re­ly­ing on in­jury to play in tests and com­pet­ing with the likes of Lockie Fer­gu­son in ODIs. Lockie Fer­gu­son 18: Has the pace fac­tor the se­lec­tors like and a World Cup con­tender.

Adam Milne 19: When fully fit a first choice in the ODI and T20 sides but in­juries re­main a con­stant bat­tle.

Ge­orge Worker 20: Was No 21 last year and de­served to re­tain his con­tract af­ter im­pres­sive cameos against West Indies.

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