By Niall Anderson in Cardiff

There's less than 48 hours until their opening game of the Cricket World Cup, and the Black Caps are still uncertain as to who will be spearheading their starting XI.

Black Caps coach Gary Stead wasn't ready to commit to naming his opening batsmen and opening bowling partnerships at training in Cardiff today, with injury niggles complicating an already tricky process before he selects his side to play Sri Lanka on Saturday.

Two spots have been up for grabs all summer, with Henry Nicholls and Colin Munro vying to be Martin Guptill's partner to open the batting, while Matt Henry and Tim Southee have been battling to share the new ball with Trent Boult.


Despite having yet to truly fire in the opening role, Nicholls surely has the edge over Munro, whose selection would be a rather bold call, considering he has made just one 50 in his last 17 innings. The other Henry – Matt – looked to be the frontrunner to open the bowling after some strong displays against India and Bangladesh, but an absolute tonking (2-107 from nine overs) by the West Indies, and a strong resurgence from Southee, may have turned the tables.

Will Henry Nicholls partner Martin Guptill at the top of the order? Photo / Getty
Will Henry Nicholls partner Martin Guptill at the top of the order? Photo / Getty

Stead acknowledged that the warm-up matches had made those calls clearer, but said he was still unable to make a definitive decision.

"We've got a few little niggles in the camp which we're monitoring at the moment and that may have a bearing on what we go with," Stead explained.

Those niggles include Munro, who has a bruised foot, though still managed to bat and bowl at training. It's hardly the walking wounded, with most players getting through a decent workload out in the middle at Sophia Gardens, but there was enough concern for Stead to err on the side of caution when discussing his options.

"At all times you've got things people are managing, we have got a couple of other [niggles] but I hope it's not going to be [injuries] ruling them out – it's just too early to say.

"I think it's just that factor of coming back together again and little things that just get picked up as you start lifting that intensity."

Despite the few worries emerging, Stead was still pleased about how things were tracking, and has no trepidation heading into the tournament.

"We had a couple of really great warm-up games, it was good to get the boys back together and playing again.


"I was delighted with both workouts, we were put under pressure, and we had a good outing against India first up. All in all, I think confidence levels are high going into the World Cup."