Tom Blundell is a specialist wicket-keeper from Wellington. He was very much the surprise pick for the World Cup squad, given that he has never played an ODI match, and did not play for Wellington this season in the Ford Trophy. He has played in only four of the 12 List A matches that New Zealand A played in the last 18 months, playing one of them as a specialist batsman with BJ Watling taking the gloves.
He is regarded as one of New Zealand’s best pure wicket-keepers and has played a couple of test matches as wicketkeeper when BJ Watling was unfit. He scored a century on debut at the Basin Reserve, just down the road from his house. A hint to his down-to-earth personality can be found from the fact that he decided to walk home from that Test match, with his bag over his shoulder and a match stump in his hand.
Like most wicket-keepers, he tends to favour cross-batted shots, particularly cuts, pulls and sweeps, however, his game is mostly built on a strong defensive technique. That may be helpful in a situation where early wickets fall, but he tends to struggle to turn over the strike as well as most international batsmen.
It is unlikely that he will play much of a role at the World Cup, baring an injury to Tom Latham, but New Zealand have traditionally been a side who have made surprise picks at World Cups, often with spectacular success. It would certainly be a left-field selection to have him in the starting eleven, but so were the selections of Mark Greatbatch and Grant Elliott. Gary Stead mentioned a couple of times that the combination of his batting ability and his glove work was what led to him being picked, and so there might be something that Craig McMillan (the outgoing batting coach) has seen in his technique that makes him think that three months of intensive work could turn him into a genuine batting asset.
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