James Neesham, New Zealand all-rounder, World Cup 2019 Player Full Profile: Neesham adds much-needed balance to squad with versatility

  • Michael Wagener
  • April 23rd, 2019
  • 19:30:38 IST

Jimmy Neesham is prolific on social media, but in late 2018 he was just as prolific with the bat in his hand. He was one of the unluckiest players to miss selection for the last World Cup, and looked destined to be a player who would be described as not having fulfilled his potential when he was first not given a contract by New Zealand Cricket and then dropped by Otago in 2017.

File image of James Neesham. AFP

File image of James Neesham. AFP

He had two options at that point. To give up, or to work harder. He chose the second. A move to Wellington and a solid off-season gave him an opportunity to show what he could do.

And he certainly did that. He hit 503 runs at an average of 62.87 and a strike rate of 110.8 in the Ford Trophy. To go with that he also picked up 13 wickets at 32.2 runs each, and grabbed 10 catches. He then was selected for the Blackcaps, and continued from where he left off. Averaging 68.00 at a strike rate of 182.14 with the bat and 10 wickets at 22.90 with the ball made him completely impossible to ignore for the World Cup squad.

His consistency with the bat this season has been almost unparalleled. He did the job asked of him in all but one innings, and in that one he was run out for 44(32) while not attempting a run, so hardly a failure with the bat. If there is a criticism it is that he's often gone searching for a wicket a bit too soon, and possibly needs to be a little more patient, to avoid giving away easy boundaries.

He seems to be destined to be used in the Jacques Kallis type role — predominantly playing as a batsman, but being given multiple short spells with the ball, and being asked to make an impact with them. If he can achieve this, then he adds a real balance to the New Zealand side.

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Updated Date: April 23, 2019 19:30:38 IST

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