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Latham to keep wickets for Black Caps

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 29/01/2017
Tom Latham. © Martin Hunter/Getty Images Tom Latham.

New Zealand won't field a specialist wicketkeeper in the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy opener, choosing opener Tom Latham to wear the gloves at Eden Park in his 50th ODI.

Captain Kane Williamson confirmed rookie specialist 'keeper Tom Blundell, who has played one Twenty20 international, won't play the first of three fixtures against Australia on Monday.

It will be the fourth ODI featuring Latham in the custodian role, having done so early in his career when batting in the middle order.

Latham's performance with the gloves in a domestic trial for Canterbury on Friday probably won him the nod over Blundell. He snared two stumpings against Auckland and was generally tidy.

The 24-year-old will remain an opener alongside Martin Guptill, with Williamson keen on the benefits it provides further down the order.

The skipper will bat at No.3, followed by senior batsmen Ross Taylor and Neil Broom before a host of contenders come into play.

Hard-hitting Colin Munro is a potential floater with the bat, along with allrounders Jimmy Neesham and Colin de Grandhomme.

Mitchell Santner will be a spinning option, followed by the likely seam attack of Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Lockie Ferguson.

Williamson won't finalise the rest of his team until he assesses the drop-in pitch, the same one used when Australia were thrashed by 159 runs in the series-opener a year ago.

Guptill toyed with the small boundaries on his way to 90 as New Zealand posted 307 before Australia were routed for 148.

"If you put the ball in the right area on drop-in wickets at times you can build pressure," Williamson said.

"There are small boundaries but sometimes that can lure a lot of players in. We've seen here on good surfaces that there can be some low scoring, tight games."

Since then, New Zealand have been crushed 3-0 in the series in Australia.

Williamson says the Black Caps showed only glimpses of their ability against a very good Australian side, who he says deserve to be ranked No.1 in the format.

Even without classy batsmen David Warner, Steve Smith and Usman Khawaja, Williamson says a challenge awaits his bowlers.

"But naturally it changes their side, missing three world class players," he said.

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