Promising New Zealand southpaw Henry Nicholls is expected to be considered as the back-up wicketkeeping option for the upcoming 2019 ICC World Cup scheduled in England and Wales.
“It’s a possibility,” Stuff News quoted the Black Caps coach Gary Stead as saying.
The 27-year-old Christchurch-based cricketer Nicholls has also donned the gloves in the recent past. According to Stead, the former’s fate will be decided during the management meeting to finalise the 15-member squad for the quadrennial event.
“Henry has had a little bit of keeping in the past and again that’s a selection question when we sit down to finalise the squad of 15 and work out the balance we need,” Stead added.
On the other side, the prominent batsman, Tom Latham is the preferred choice to keep the wickets in England.
However, the top-order batsman Nicholls had a decent outing with the bat in the recent past. Eventually, it improves his chances of making it to the Kiwis squad for the much-awaited competition.
Also, Stead, who also served as the Kiwis Test cricket didn’t shy away from admitting that there will be serious selection headaches for the ODI showpiece. He added that they are looking forward to putting in the hard yards to strike the right balance in the team.
“We’ll work out whether we go that way or have a genuine person who keeps all the time as balance,” Stead said.
After making his debut in 2015 against Sri Lanka at his home-base Christchurch, Nicholls featured in 33 ODIs. He amassed 814 runs at the average of 37. Nicholls further recorded a solitary hundred and six half-centuries to his name.
Nicholls recently struck brilliant hundred against the Lions. He went on to score 80-ball unbeaten 124.
On the other hand, Nicholls would face the tough competition in the long run from gloveman Tim Seifert. Seifert featured in as a wicketkeeper-batsman against Sri Lanka Nation Cricket Team in the recently concluded ODI series. New Zealand went on to seal the series 3-0.
But Stead had made it clear by saying Seifert needs to give extra behind the stumps.
“We got some information we wanted [about Seifert] which was really good, we certainly have no question marks around his ability with the bat and to change a game quickly. We’ve given him some things to go away and work on with the gloves in terms of being a little bit tidier generally. But he’s certainly on the upward ranks in how he’s going with his keeping,” Stead concluded.
Owing to the preparations for the mega event in England, Kiwis will host Team India in the five-match ODI series. Thus, it will be followed by three Twenty20 Internationals against the Virat Kohli-led India. Hosts Kiwis had also announced their squad for the first three ODIs.
It would also be crucial for Nicholls to showcase his talent in a bid to book a berth for the 2019 ICC World Cup.