Jigsaw pitch-gate aside, New Zealand will be coming over full of confidence that they can take home the Trans-Tasman Trophy for the first time since 1990. For those that aren’t familiar with the Kiwi squad, below should provide you with an introduction of what Australia will be up against over the course of the next few weeks.
Tom Latham – 11 Matches, 830 Runs at 39.52
Son of former all-rounder Rod Latham, the 23 year old left-hander has quickly settled into an opening spot alongside Martin Guptill. Following successful tours of the Caribbean and UAE, Latham is a young player with bright future that comes into this series full of confidence.
Martin Guptill – 33 Matches, 1858 Runs at 29.96
Far more of a formidable player than his average suggests, with all the shots in the textbook within his armoury, Guptill should be averaging more. His tendency to push at the ball gets him in trouble against the quicks gets him in trouble however. The Australian pace attack will feel like they’re in with a chance early on.
Kane Williamson – 41 Matches, 3199 Runs at 45.70
This boy can bat. It is widely considered that by the end of his career, Williamson will be New Zealand’s greatest ever batsman. Capable of scoring quicker than a run a ball, or batting for time when needed, Williamson will be the Kiwi’s most coveted wicket this series.
Ross Taylor – 64 Matches, 4769 Runs at 44.99
An aggressive top order batsman capable of taking it to world-class attacks. The 31 year old scores heavily from the pull and slog sweep. Taylor’s 2 year stint as captain ended after it emerged that he couldn’t work with head coach, Mike Hesson.
Brendon McCullum – 94 Matches, 6008 Runs at 38.76
Bowling attacks fear him whilst simultaneously believing they can nip him out at any time. Brutal, brash and brilliant to watch, the contest between the Blackcap’s skipper and Starc should be mouth-watering.
James Neesham – 8 Matches, 606 Runs at 43.28
Likely to play in place of the injured Corey Anderson, Jimmy Neesham is another promising all-rounder who made his name in the games shorter formats. With a strike rate of over 70, Neesham has the ability to score runs at a healthy pace.
BJ Watling – 31 Matches, 1832 Runs at 40.71
A Right handed opening batsman and part-time wicketkeeper. Watling assumed the gloves full in 2013 and hasn’t looked back since. A very handy player to have coming in at number 7.
Mark Craig – 10 Matches, 421 Runs at 42.10. 38 Wickets at 40.02
An off-spinner making his name in the Blackcaps tour of the West Indies. Taking 8-188 in his debut match Craig immediately justified his selection, and has kept his place in the side ever since. The Aussie batsman may look get after the Kiwi off-tweaker should he find it difficult to get any traction off the hard and bouncy decks.
Tim Southee – 41 Matches, 144 Wickets at 31.63
Right arm swing bowler that seems to have been in the game for years despite his still young age of 26. Southee has been a consistent performer as New Zealand’s opening bowler. He has the ability to swing the ball late, securing four 5 wicket hauls in his Test career. Australia’s ability to see off Southee and his opening partner Boult will be key.
Matt Henry – 2 Matches, 8 Wickets at 42.50
Recovering from back surgery in 2012, Matt Henry almost didn’t get the chance to play for New Zealand. With the ability to bowl constantly over 140kmph, Henry is the Blackcaps fastest bowler, and is capable of keeping control of his pace whilst subtly moving the ball in the air and off the seam.
Trent Boult – 32 Matches, 123 Wickets at 27.10
Arguably New Zealand’s greatest threat with the ball. We caught a glimpse of what Boult can do in the World Cup 2015. Without possessing the express pace of Starc, Boult has the ability to swing the ball both ways with great control in the most unresponsive of conditions. He’ll be a big threat to left-handers Warner and Khawaja early on in the innings.
Full NZ Squad – Brendon McCullum (captain), Tom Latham, Martin Guptill, Hamish Rutherford, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Jimmy Neesham, BJ Watling, Luke Ronchi, Mitchell Santner, Mark Craig, Doug Bracewell, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Matt Henry.