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Sport

New Zealand's Stead bets on depth of talent as he looks to 2023 World Cup

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - New Zealand cricket coach Gary Stead said one of the things that made him want to stay on in the role until after the 2023 World Cup, to be held in India, was the depth of talent the country had developed across all three formats of the game.

FILE PHOTO: Cricket - ICC Cricket World Cup Semi Final - New Zealand Press Conference - Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - July 7, 2019 New Zealand head coach Gary Stead during the press conference Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff

Stead was reappointed to the job on Wednesday after initially signing a two-year contract when he succeeded Mike Hesson in 2018.

While New Zealand have made the last two one-day World Cup finals and are currently second in the test rankings, the nucleus of the side is getting older.

Captain Kane Williamson, vice captain Tom Latham and pace spearheads Trent Boult and Tim Southee, will all be in their early to mid-30s in 2023.

Veteran batsman Ross Taylor would be 39 and limited overs opening batsman Martin Guptill would turn 37 just before the World Cup’s scheduled start in October 2023.

Stead recognised he would need to bring players through, however, he added that uncertainty over fixtures because of COVID-19 could help the older players prolong their careers.

“I’m certainly not into pushing people to retire,” Stead told reporters after his reappointment. “What I am into is getting the best out of them for as long as they want to play.”

Stead added he was excited with the talent coming through development programmes.

Towering pace bowler Kyle Jamieson and batsmen Tom Blundell and Glenn Phillips all proved earlier this year they could make the step up to international cricket.

Batsmen Will Young, who has returned from shoulder surgery, and South African-born Devon Conway are also likely to be given opportunities in the next 12 months.

“We have had quite a robust ‘A’ programme ... and that has allowed us to test the depth of the players below the Black Caps,” Stead said.

“The thing that is really encouraging for me is that I genuinely believe there are 16 to 18 players in each of the formats that could represent New Zealand and that’s exciting going forward.”

Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Himani Sarkar

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