Situations vacant: bowlers who have a grip on their skills and can deliver plans consistently for captain Kane Williamson at the World Cup.

Testing will continue through the summer but performances in the one-day series against India starting later this month should carry more influence when the 15-strong World Cup squad is picked.

Job descriptions for the bowlers haven't changed but concerns about those who can fill specialist needs in 50-over matches have widened.


The merits of Colin Munro at the top of the order is the only immediate question about the batting talent and that may leave debate about the effects of shifting wicket-keeper Tom Latham up to his test role as opener. That's unlikely but it's an option.

Otherwise room in the top batting lineup has shrunk with Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls and Jimmy Neesham getting runs with Latham to add to that list.

The bowling has headed in a different direction.

At test level opening bowlers Trent Boult and Tim Southee have done the business this summer but there was a ragged edge about much of the bowling plans, field settings and production even though they swept the one-day series with Sri Lanka.

There's a T20 game tonight at Eden Park to pack out the entertainment and finish that segment of the summer before attention switches to the inquisition from India's batting power. That lineup blunted Australia's attack for an historic test series win and has three one-dayers against Australia to warm up for their visit across the Tasman.

Bowlers like Matt Henry need to perform against India for the Black Caps. Photo / Photosport
Bowlers like Matt Henry need to perform against India for the Black Caps. Photo / Photosport

They may take a game or two to adjust to the different conditions but Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Shikar Dhawan, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni and their colleagues will take the demands up several notches for the New Zealand bowlers. Who will they be?

For the World Cup, coach Gary Stead has to settle on a primary group of bowlers whose batting ability is a bonus rather than a requirement and then he can take an all-rounder or two but injury may reduce his choices if Adam Milne, Todd Astle, Corey Anderson or Mitchell Santner can't sustain enough work.

Stead and his staff will have assessed likely conditions and the size of grounds in England when the tournament starts in May and which bowlers best fit New Zealand plans and the tournament format.


Pace is the best weapon to create batting indecision so Lockie Ferguson hits that mark with a fit Milne, Seth Rance or Scott Kuggeleijn as wildcard challengers. Boult and Southee's experience leads the way with maybe Matt Henry who has been successful on the UK circuit but needs a chance and results here to confirm his ticket.

If spin is a necessity then Ish Sodhi, Will Somerville, Ajaz Patel and Astle grab the discussion but usually New Zealand opts for batsmen who bowl a bit like Santner or medium-pacer batsmen such as Colin de Grandhomme, Anderson, Neesham or Doug Bracewell.

Stead wants a couple of all-rounders in his squad but he should limit those choices and zero in on specialist one-day bowlers like Ferguson and Sodhi whose attacking edge creates the point of difference teams will need to win a World Cup.