Fit-again Williamson to lead Black Caps in World Cup

Williamson to lead Black Caps in World Cup
New Zealand's Kane Williamson, right, and head coach Gary Stead. File photo: Action Images: Andrew Boyers via Reuters

Kane Williamson will lead New Zealand at next month's ICC World Cup and Trent Boult will spearhead the pace attack but opener Finn Allen and fast bowler Adam Milne have missed out on the squad for India.

Boult returned to action with three wickets in a 79-run defeat by England in Southampton on Sunday and was duly named in the 15-man squad to be led by Williamson, despite the batter's ongoing recovery from a long-term knee ligament injury.

New Zealand were runners-up to hosts England at the 2019 tournament, losing a classic final at Lord's on boundary count after the teams could not be separated by a tie-breaking Super Over.

Will Young beat out Allen for the opening batsman's slot which has been contested since Martin Guptill's release last year.

"We just felt that we looked through what the potential game-plan was looking like in India, looked at the grounds, and also looked at the form of the two players as well," head coach Gary Stead told reporters.

"We felt that Young was the right guy to go with."

Jimmy Neesham, who all but batted New Zealand to victory in the 2019 final, has also been included, despite joining Boult in opting out of his national contract last year.

"I think you always have the need for all-rounders and I guess with Michael Bracewell dropping out, that also opened up an option for another all-rounder there,” Stead said of Neesham's selection.

Boult, Williamson, Neesham, fast bowler Tim Southee and wicketkeeper-batsman Tom Latham form a strong core of World Cup veterans but the squad also includes six players looking to make their debut at the 50-over tournament.

Mark Chapman, Devon Conway, Daryl Mitchell and Glenn Phillips were selected in their first ICC World Cup squad, having featured in T20 World Cup squads before.

All-rounder Rachin Ravindra and Young are set for their first World Cup in any format.

New Zealand will bid for a first World Cup title, having been runners-up at the last two 50-over tournaments in England and Australia in 2015.

New Zealand squad: Kane Williamson (capt), Trent Boult, Mark Chapman, Devon Conway, Lockie Ferguson, Matt Henry, Tom Latham (wk), Daryl Mitchell, Jimmy Neesham, Glenn Phillips, Rachin Ravindra, Mitch Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Will Young.

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