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ICC Cricket World Cup 2019

Tom Blundell included as New Zealand announce squad for World Cup

New Zealand announced their 15-man squad on Wednesday for the upcoming World Cup, with Tom Blundell's inclusion as back-up wicketkeeper the only real surprise.

The Black Caps hope to claim the title after exiting in the semi-finals six times and suffering a defeat to Australia by a huge margin in their only appearance in the final four years ago.

New Zealand are currently placed third in the ODI rankings, behind England and India.

New Zealand head coach Gary Stead said his side had repeatedly excelled at the top level and he was confident the consistency would remain through at the tournament in England and Wales.

"We've got a squad here of 15 players that we think can give us a really, really good chance of going far into the tournament," he said.

"If we play close to our potential, then hopefully we can do New Zealand proud."

Wicketkeeper keeper Blundell was selected after Tim Siefert injured his finger in a domestic match last month.

Mitchell Santner will be the New Zealand’s primary spin bowling option, with Ish Sodhi being the second spinner in the squad.

"(Selecting) the spinners was very tough, and both had signs at times that they should've been the one that was selected... but at the end of the day that's my call to make," Stead said.

The pace attack consists of Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Lockie Ferguson and Matt Henry, while Jimmy Neesham and Colin de Grandhomme being the all-rounders.

Henry Nicholls is likely to open the batting alongside veteran Martin Guptill after displacing Colin Munro at the top of the order, although Munro will make the trip as batting cover.

Williamson and Ross Taylor, in his fourth World Cup campaign, complete a battle-hardened batting line up.

Williamson, Taylor and Guptill have collectively amassed 526 ODI appearances between them.

The Black Caps will kick off their World Cup campaign against Sri Lanka in Cardiff on June 1.

New Zealand squad

Kane Williamson (capt), Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Colin Munro, Jimmy Neesham, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor