Larsen defends Black Caps rest policy


Black Caps selector Gavin Larsen has defended the decision to give skipper Kane Williamson and senior bowler Tim Southee time off early in the season.

The pair will only play the first match of the three game ODI series against the West Indies before being given a break.

Certain sections of the media and some fans have been critical of the decision given it comes at the very beginning of the home season in New Zealand.

Larsen told Newstalk ZB: “We really strongly felt that on balance we needed to give, in particular our guys that are gonna probably play the three formats across the season, give them a week away at some stage from about mid-December through to about mid-January.

“And we tried to stagger it and we really felt that to give ourselves the best opportunity to keep them fresh and also for us to test players — which is a really important point here — that it had to happen earlier rather than later.”

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Larsen said the decision was taken in consultation with senior players and agreements were reached some time ago.

He went on:  “We sat down with all the senior players … and had a really good conversation on this particular subject,” he said. “There was absolute consensus that it was in the best interests of all the players particularly those who are going to be playing all three formats across the course of the season.

“We’re going to be giving opportunities to any number, I think, of fringe players through the summer which is actually gonna be really exciting.”

Larsen was eager to see a wider group of players exposed to white ball cricket in a bid to prepare for the 2019 World Cup.

The chief selector said: “We’ve got a really good opportunity this summer in white-ball cricket to expose players and to test players in positions.

“I am talking about the George Workers and the Todd Astles and the Neil Brooms; guys that have all had just short opportunities in the recent past. Here’s an opportunity to really know at the end of this season where we stand with those players.”

The first ODI of the series gets underway on Wednesday December 20 at the Cobham Oval in Whangarei.