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New Zealand axe Tuffey, name squad for World Cup

Wellington: New Zealand cricket chiefs backed their struggling one-day team to reverse a dramatic form slump, avoiding wholesale changes in the World Cup squad named on Wednesday.

Chief selector Mark Greatbatch said the Black Caps had a point to prove after losing their past 11 one-day internationals, including series whitewashes against Bangladesh and India.

“We have kept faith with the bulk of the team which played the five-match ODI series in India and believe that, despite recent one-day form, the squad is very capable,” he said.

“(They) owe it to themselves and the New Zealand fans to put in a huge performance at the World Cup.”

Cricket’s showpiece event in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka runs from February 19 to April 2.

Greatbatch said the squad, captained by Daniel Vettori, had an experienced core, with six players who helped New Zealand reach the semi-finals for the fifth time at the last World Cup in 2007.

All-rounder Luke Woodcock, 28, is the only uncapped ODI player in the squad, securing his berth with his strong domestic form for Wellington.

“He has a good head on his shoulders and his selection provides the option of playing three spinners, which could be useful in the subcontinent,” Greatbatch said.

Injury-prone all-rounder Jacob Oram was also named, with Greatbatch saying his domestic performances after returning from a stint on the sidelines made the fitness gamble worthwhile.

Greatbatch singled out Jamie How as a batsman who needed to improve after failing against India but said his ability to provide wicketkeeping back-up to Brendon McCullum had helped
sway selectors.

“Some might think he’s a bit lucky after the last few innings in India but over the last 15 months he’s actually performed in the limited forms of the game at various levels,” he said.

Bowler Daryl Tuffey was the highest-profile omission from the squad.

New Zealand’s 15-man World Cup squad:

Daniel Vettori (capt), Hamish Bennett, James Franklin, Martin Guptill, Jamie How, Brendon McCullum, Nathan McCullum, Kyle Mills, Jacob Oram, Jesse Ryder, Tim Southee, Scott Styris, Ross Taylor, Kane Williamson, Luke Woodcock.

Bureau Report