Ranking the Black Caps
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.