LISTEN TO TOM LATHAM TALK WITH D'ARCY AND GORAN ABOVE
The Black Caps are about to face the biggest challenge in their preparation for the Cricket World Cup, so there's no better time to welcome back three of their key contributors.
Mitchell Santner, Tom Latham and Colin de Grandhomme are all set to make their returns against India as part of a 14-man squad named for the first three games of the five-match series against the world's No2-ranked ODI side.
After a dominant 3-0 series sweep over Sri Lanka, India will provide a major step up for the Black Caps, so the 152 games of ODI experience provided by the returning trio should prove a significant boost as the Black Caps look to continue their strong form ahead of cricket's ultimate one-day prize.
Latham and de Grandhomme slot straight back in after being rested for the Sri Lankan short-form sweep, while Santner will end a 10-month stint without ODI cricket, having successfully made his international return from knee surgery in New Zealand's Twenty20 win over Sri Lanka last Friday.
Latham told D'Arcy and Goran that it's always nice to be selected for New Zealand.
On why he didn't play against Sri Lanka, he says that it was just a rest
"I've been in that situation a huge amount where you're given a bit of a rest, and it's always nice to be refreshed."
Tim Seifert makes way for Latham as the specialist wicketkeeper, while de Grandhomme returns in place of the man who shone in his absence, Jimmy Neesham. Neesham suffered a grade one hamstring strain in the third ODI against Sri Lanka, and will miss at least the first three ODIs against India, having to prove his fitness in the domestic Twenty20 Super Smash.
Doug Bracewell stays in the squad despite not getting a run in the Sri Lankan ODI series, while Todd Astle will also be considered for the final two games of the series if he, too, can prove his fitness in the Super Smash.
Black Caps coach Gary Stead said his squad is a result of juggling multiple objectives – preparing for the upcoming World Cup, and aiming for a series win against a high-quality Indian outfit.
"Our two main priorities have been to select and prepare a squad capable of winning what is shaping as a massive series against India, and gathering as much information as possible ahead of the World Cup," said Stead.
"Tom and Colin are experienced players in this format and will offer quality in their respective roles, and Mitch and Doug showed us what they are capable of during the T20 on Friday night."
Stead is hopeful that Neesham and Astle will join the squad for games four and five, if they come through the Super Smash unscathed.
"We were impressed by Jimmy against Sri Lanka, and are keen to see more of Todd – who has a different skillset and performed well for us last year.
"It's just important that, after their respective injuries, we can see them playing again and be confident of bringing them back at this level."
The ODI series kicks off at McLean Park in Napier next Wednesday.
Black Caps squad
Kane Williamson (c), Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Colin Munro, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor.