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ICC World Cup 2019: Kiwis announce 15-member squad for the tournament

The 2015 World Cup runners-up, New Zealand becomes the first team to announce its final 15-player squad for the upcoming 2019 World Cup. The all-important 50-overs mega event will be kicking off with the opening game between hosts England and South Africa on May 30 in London. Kiwis will be starting their World Cup campaign against Sri Lanka on June 1 in Cardiff. 

Blundell gets a dream call-up; Munro retains his place

Kiwi uncapped wicket-keeper batsman, Tom Blundell has earned a dream call-up to the World Cup squad. Tim Seifert was scheduled to be named in final squad, but he failed to make the cut due to a finger injury. Colin Munro has also retained his position despite a string of poor performances. Munro along with Guptill and Nicholls are the three openers.

Kane Williamson will be leading the team and also the middle-order along with Ross Taylor and Tom Latham. Colin de Grandhomme and Jimmy Neesham are the two all-rounders. Doug Bracewell has been ignored despite some valuable performances both with the bat and ball. 

In the bowling contingent, Southee, Boult, Ferguson and Henry are the fast bowlers. Santner and Sodhi will take care of the spin bowling duties. 

"As with any squad named for a major tournament, there's had to be some tough calls and there will be some disappointed players. The key for us was finding the right balance for the squad and making sure we had our bases covered for what is going to be a very competitive World Cup. As a one-day unit we've been pretty consistent over the past few years and possess a very experienced group of core players, proven at the top level,” said New Zealand head coach Gary Stead.

"The World Cup is the pinnacle of cricket and to be the first nation to name a squad for the tournament is really exciting. I'd like to congratulate all the players selected. To represent your country at a World Cup is a huge honour and I know the entire squad and support staff are looking forward to the challenges ahead," he added.

The Kiwi World Cup squad will be starting the preparations with three two-day training camps in April in Christchurch and then the players will take part in an unofficial three-match ODI series against Australia. Most of the leading New Zealand players will be playing in the IPL 2019 edition during that phase and thus, they are unlikely to be with the rest of the squad. 

“We will have three training camps through April which will involve many players who are not in this squad as it's important they're ready on stand-by should we lose anybody in the lead up to or at the tournament," the Kiwi head coach concluded.

New Zealand 15-member squad for 2019 World Cup

Kane Williamson (c), Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Colin Munro, Jimmy Neesham, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor.