Questions have arisen this week whether Tom Latham's position, as wicketkeeper-batsman at No.5 in New Zealand's one-day international side, should be secure at home.

Such scrutiny seems premature, and based on a limited sample.

In a 66 ODI career, the 25-year-old has been pinballed from opener to No.7, and even a one-off cameo at No.9 in his maiden series against Zimbabwe in 2012.

In the middle order against the West Indies and Pakistan this summer, Latham has had four batting opportunities in five matches, coming in anywhere from the sixth to the 33rd overs.


He has averaged 19.25 at a strike rate of 75 with the bat, enacted nine dismissals - eight catches and a stumping - and conceded one bye with the gloves.

His batting has struggled at times, but he surely deserves a sustained period in the role through the Pakistan and England series to establish a rhythm?

An alternative theory is to tailor the selection by using Latham specifically on the subcontinent, while someone else takes the role at home.

New Zealand have employed similar policies in the past. A test match example involved Henry Nicholls at No.5 against the pace of South Africa in August 2016, while opting for Luke Ronchi's nous against spin in India the following month.

However, the premise is fragile where Latham is concerned. At No.5 he was New Zealand's best batsman on the spring tour of India. He scored 103 not out, 38 and 65 at an overall strike rate of 95 in the 2-1 ODI series defeat.

If the selectors' modus operandi is a gauge, Latham will stay put.

Compare his tenure to that of Luke Ronchi. After his 170 not out, an ODI world record by a No.7 against Sri Lanka at Dunedin in January 2015, Ronchi got past 20 - but never 50 – five times in his next 32 innings across 26 months of cricket.

That's a bona fide definition of selection loyalty.

Latham's overall ODI career statistics show in 22 innings, batting anywhere from No.4 to No.7, he averages 29.36 at a strike rate of 80.

His situation has been compounded by Glenn Phillips carting boundaries about Saxton Oval in a T20 against the West Indies. The Aucklander made 56 off 40 balls, took three catches - including a stunner running backwards to remove Chris Gayle - and secured a stumping.

Selector Gavin Larsen confirmed the panel's faith in Latham.

"He's a class player, he's going to play a lot of cricket for New Zealand, there's no doubt about that.

"He hasn't shot the lights out, but there have been glimpses. I think he's a three-format cricketer trying to find his way, particularly in home series of ODI cricket.

"I've got full confidence Tom will put a big score on the board."

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson confirmed his satisfaction, too.

"He's playing nicely. You always want more runs, but he had an amazing tour of India. In a lot of ways he's sheriffing the middle order role when he gets in."

Tom Latham's ODI batting record


Matches Innings Average Strike rate
66 64 34.05 81

Middle order away (No.4-No.7)

Matches Innings Average Strike rate
13 13 34.90 80

Middle order home (No.4-No.7)

Matches Innings Average Strike rate
11 9 23.22 81