New Zealand announced their squad for the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup 2022 to be held in Australia from October-November this year and the opener Martin Guptill is set to make a record seventh appearance at the event.
BLACKCAPS batsman Martin Guptill has been honoured by his old school, Avondale College in Auckland, on being selected for a record seventh ICC T20 World Cup. Nathan McCullum and Ross Taylor are the only other New Zealanders to have appeared at six T20 World Cups. The 35-year-old's inclusion was part of a largely predictable 15-player squad, announced at Guptill's former high school, for the T20 showpiece in Australia next month.
Wellington Firebirds duo Finn Allen and Michael Bracewell have been named for their first senior World Cups and are the only new faces from the side that made the final of last year's event in the UAE.
Paceman Adam Milne has retained his place in the squad, after the 30-year-old was called in to replace Lockie Ferguson (calf injury) early in the tournament last October.
Devon Conway has been named as the front-line wicket-keeper after wearing the gloves in the UAE and the recent series against West Indies.
Of those who featured in last year's World Cup squad, Kyle Jamieson was not considered as he continues his rehabilitation from a back injury, while Todd Astle and Tim Seifert have missed selection.
The BLACKCAPS T20 World Cup squad will first contest the T20 Tri-Series with Pakistan and Bangladesh starting in Christchurch on October 7. With seven matches across eight days at Hagley Oval, the Tri-Series will provide fans with their last chance to see the team before they depart for Australia on October 15.BLACKCAPS coach Gary Stead said the side was excited about the opportunity that lay ahead.
"It is always a special time announcing a World Cup squad and I would like to congratulate the 15 players selected today. It is especially exciting for Finn and Michael who are set for their first ICC events, while Martin Guptill is preparing for his 7th T20 World Cup - which in itself is an incredible achievement," said Stead in a statement by the board.
"It is great to have this tournament so soon after last year's event in which we played some really good cricket, but could not quite get over the line at the end. With the nucleus of that squad retained along with the exciting additions of Finn and Michael, we should go into the tournament with plenty of optimism," he added.
Stead said the Tri Series beforehand should provide high-quality preparation for the World Cup.
"Along with the all-important game time, those matches will be a great chance to refine our combinations and game-plans ahead of our departure to Australia," he concluded.
The BLACKCAPS open their T20 World Cup campaign against Australia at the SCG on Saturday, October 22, before facing Afghanistan (MCG), England (Gabba) and two qualifiers at the SCG and Adelaide Oval respectively.
Stead said there was a high level of excitement amongst the team about the prospect of big crowds returning for the event following a COVID-affected 2021 edition.
"We are hoping plenty of Kiwis will make the trip across the ditch to support us, along with our fans already living in Australia. Playing at the great grounds such as the SCG, MCG, the Gabba and the Adelaide Oval will be occasions to savour and something I know our boys are really looking forward to."
Guptill's selection for his seventh T20 World Cup sees him join an exclusive list of players in Dwayne Bravo, Chris Gayle, Mohammad Mahmudullah and Mushfiqur Rahim - while Shakib Al-Hasan and Rohit Sharma are set for their eighth events.
The BLACKCAPS assemble in Christchurch for the Tri-Series on October 5. On Saturday, October 15, they will depart for Australia from Christchurch.
BLACKCAPS Squad for ICC T20 World Cup and Tri Series: Kane Williamson (c), Finn Allen, Trent Boult, Michael Bracewell, Mark Chapman, Devon Conway (wk), Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Adam Milne, Daryl Mitchell, Jimmy Neesham, Glenn Phillips, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee. (ANI)