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World Cup 2019: Tom Latham’s Availability In New Zealand’s Opening Game Doubtful

“28-year-old Tom Blundell will make his ODI debut in case Tom Latham fails to recover in time.”

With less than two weeks to go for the 2019 World Cup, the Kane Williamson-led New Zealand team have been struck with an injury blow to their wicket-keeper batsman Tom Latham.   The left-hander fractured his finger during the unofficial One-Dayers against Australia recently. He is now also in doubt to play New Zealand’s first game against Sri Lanka on June 1 to be played at the Sophia Gardens in Cardiff.

If Latham fails to get fit in time for the team’s opener, Tom Blundell will make his ODI debut and take up the responsibility behind the wickets. Blundell, in that case, will become the first New Zealand player to make his ODI debut in a World Cup since 1987.

Tom Latham was immediately withdrawn after the injury and sent for a check-up. He visited a specialist after returning to Christchurch and underwent an X-ray only to be declared fit to travel with the World Cup squad.

Latham’s progress to be monitored on day-to-day basis

While speaking on Tom Latham’s injury, Kiwi chief selector Garvin Larsen revealed that a final call will be taken after monitoring his progress on day-to-day basis. “Whether he [Latham] takes his place in those warm-up games we’ll take a day-by-day approach on that, which will be down to the medical guys and Gary [Stead] and support staff when they’re over there.

“They’re both ready; Tim has come off the back of his finger injury, that’s OK, and BJ has been going well. We’ve got the different skill sets covered,” he told Trackside Radio. As for Tom Blundell, he is ready to take up the challenge if the Kiwis need him for their first World Cup game. However, even before that, he will have to do the job in the warm-up games against India and Windies.

“It is pretty exciting but I’ve just got to wait and see. Hopefully, for Tom it’s not too bad and he has a speedy recovery. If called upon I’ll be ready. Those games last week against Aussie were a great experience and I’ll draw on that confidence if I do get a chance to play the first couple of games,” Blundell said while speaking to stuff-co.nz.