Blundell looking to prove doubters wrong

Tom Blundell. Photo: Getty Images
Tom Blundell. Photo: Getty Images
Tom Blundell was anticipating enjoying a quiet winter at home in Wellington.

Instead, he received the biggest call-up of his cricket career.

The wicketkeeper was the surprise pick amongst the 15-man Black Caps squad for the Cricket World Cup, with his strong glovework seeing him selected as the back-up wicketkeeper to incumbent Tom Latham.

Blundell was picked ahead of Tim Seifert, and his specialist skills were preferred to a part-time keeping option like Henry Nicholls, something which came as only a slight surprise for the 28-year-old.

"There was a little bit [of a surprise], but it was communicated throughout the season that if I do well, there may be a chance of me going, and to get the nod was pretty special," said Blundell.

"I was looking at quite a quiet winter, having that sort of chill time to myself, but now it has changed completely, so I'm really looking forward to what lies ahead."

Blundell is uncapped at ODI level, and his domestic one-day batting record isn't flattering, averaging 23.8 at a strike rate of 78.9. He recognises that the debate over his inclusion in the squad means that there may be extra pressure on him to perform, if he gets the opportunity.

"I guess so, there's a lot of talk about me and Timmy but I'm going to go out there and if I do get a chance to play, go out and back myself and hopefully do a good job."

In fairness, Blundell didn't even get a chance to prove himself in the one-day format this year, missing the domestic competition due to being in the Black Caps squad in the United Arab Emirates for the series against Pakistan.

Upon his return to Wellington, he averaged 20 in nine Twenty20 clashes at a strike rate of 141.6, and averaged 48 in the Plunket Shield, scoring a century in his final four-day innings of the season in March.

"It was a bit unfortunate the way it worked out, I haven't played a lot of one-day cricket in the last season, but especially in the T20 I scored a few runs, then in the back end of the four-day stuff I was coming good, so I'm pretty pleased with where my game is at, at the moment.

"I always knew that if I worked hard and put some runs on the board at domestic level that I'd hopefully get a shot."

Blundell also doesn't believe that his lack of ODI experience will be a hindrance when he gets to the United Kingdom.

"Not at all, I've had a taste of international cricket, and if I do get the chance to play I'll go out and enjoy myself and really embrace the challenge."

That taste of international cricket included making a century on test debut against the West Indies in 2017, and Blundell is hoping he can produce something similar if he gets an opportunity at the World Cup.

"It was quite a whirlwind, scoring a hundred on debut and all the things that happened afterwards, it was a cool experience and I look forward for more to come.

"I was hoping I'd get a crack in all formats – it's good to be back."

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