Allrounder Grant Elliott has been recalled to the New Zealand squad for the World Cup. Elliott has not played an ODI since November 2013.
Jimmy Neesham was left out of the 15, the most high-profile omission in a squad that is rich in all-round resources; apart from Elliott, the fifteen includes Daniel Vettori, Corey Anderson and Nathan McCullum.
Fast bowler Matt Henry, who was part of the New Zealand squad for all three full one-day series they played in 2014 – at home against India and South Africa, and in the UAE against Pakistan – missed out. The pace department will be led by the pairing of Tim Southee and Trent Boult, backed up by Mitchell McClenaghan, tearaway quick Adam Milne and the vastly experienced Kyle Mills.
The batting comprises regulars Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor and Brendon McCullum, who will likely form the middle order behind openers Martin Guptill and Tom Latham, unless McCullum decides to promote himself to the top of the order as he had hinted at previously. Luke Ronchi will be the specialist wicketkeeper, with Latham as the back-up.
The squad was announced by coach Mike Hesson at Hagley Oval, in Christchurch, where New Zealand will kick off the World Cup on February 14, against Sri Lanka. “There were some hard decisions to make, but we’re pleased with the overall 15 we’ve chosen,” Hesson said. “A lot of bowlers have performed brilliantly for us over the past couple of seasons, which certainly made it difficult, but we think we have the right mix.
“Our batting unit has good depth and Grant’s inclusion assures us strong cover in the middle order. He brings a lot of experience and his record in New Zealand and Australia conditions is excellent.”
Elliott has played 51 ODIs, scoring 1013 runs at 29.79 and claiming 20 wickets at 27.25 with his medium pace. That batting average is bumped up to 35.40 at home, and 52.50 in Australia, where he has his only ODI century till date. Four games into the domestic one-dayers, the Ford Trophy, he leads Wellington’s batting charts with 193 runs at 48.25, at better than a run a ball.
New Zealand and Sri Lanka are placed in Pool A, alongside Australia, England, Scotland, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. Being co-hosts, New Zealand will play all their matches at home, and will only leave their shores should they make the final, which will be in Melbourne on March 29.