Williamson offers no faint edges

Kane Williamson
Kane Williamson
Kane Williamson perfected the leave at the press conference yesterday.

There is some speculation around what mix the Black Caps will take into today's opening one-dayer against Sri Lanka at Bay Oval.

But the New Zealand skipper was not tempted into a little flurry outside off. He stuck to the script and no-one is any the wiser - a perfect result as far as the Black Caps are concerned.

Their opposition and everyone else will just have to keep guessing until the playing XI is revealed at the toss this afternoon.

New Zealand is using the three-game one-day series as an opportunity to build depth in the side and ''rest'' a few chosen players.

One-day wicketkeeper Tom Latham and hard-hitting all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme have been given a spell.

While they are putting their feet up, Tim Seifert, Doug Bracewell and Jimmy Neesham will be doing their best to usurp them.

''Usurp'' was not mentioned anywhere in the press release, and Williamson was not comfortable with the word ''audition'', either.

Comfortable or not, Seifert, Bracewell and Neesham are playing for a World Cup spot.

And that means they will have to be provided opportunities in the next week.

Will Seifert prove more dynamic than Latham in the middle order? Can Neesham offer enough value with the bat to silence the questions about his bowling? And is Bracewell actually any good with the bat despite hearing regularly how much potential he has as an all-rounder?

Williamson let it pass when asked about his thoughts.

''I wouldn't call it an audition. I think every time you have an opportunity to bring guys in and help to create that depth in your squad ... it is important,'' he said.

Nothing to go on there. But there was a small admission.

''We are going to try and win every game we can so we'll go in with the strongest side we can.

''There are some players who have been rested and that is all part of the a bigger picture.

''The focus for anyone coming in is just to play their role.''

Strongest side? That would suggest that either Bracewell or Neesham will come in for de Grandhomme and Matt Henry will continue to watch from the sidelines as Trent Boult, Tim Southee and Lockie Ferguson run in and terrorise the Sri Lankan batting line-up missing key all-rounder Angelo Mathews, who has been ruled out with a hamstring strain.

Whether Neesham or Bracewell plays probably depends on how much bowling Williamson plans on doing.

The ball turned at the Bay Oval when Central Districts beat Northern Districts in a Super Smash game on December 27, so perhaps Williamson will make a reluctant appearance at the bowling crease.

If he is prepared to bowl five or so overs, that will lift the pressure off Neesham's bowling.

But if not, Bracewell is the safer bet. There will be no concerns about him getting through 10 overs if needs must.

''They are all different and offer strengths in slightly different areas, so we are going to discuss that and try and go with the best balance that we can,'' Williamson said.

Fair enough. Make us wait.

There is a chance they could both play if Boult or Southee sit this one out.

There will be a lot of interest in how Martin Guptill goes on his return from injury. He smacked an undefeated 71 for Auckland at Pukekura Park on Saturday.

Williamson is confident he is ready.

''He had a good knock for Auckland the other day and has been training really well. You certainly back that experience that he has.''

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