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Gary Stead

'They know what to do' – Stead swats aside New Zealand concerns

Gary Stead, the New Zealand coach, isn't too worried about players missing the team's ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019 preparatory camp due to the Indian Premier League, saying, "they're professionals, they know what they need to do."

On 2 April, New Zealand became the first team to announce their 15-member squad for the tournament. Stead had, at the time, announced three training camps would be conducted, from 15 April. However, as many as eight players will miss the camp due to their commitments to various IPL franchises.

That has raised concerns about New Zealand's readiness for the World Cup, but Stead brushed them aside. "No, no, not at all," he told Newshub, when these were put to him. "They're over there playing cricket, and that's the main thing at this stage. They're all preparing, they're professionals, they know what they need to do."

Stead, who is currently holding the second of the three training camps in Lincoln, said these players wouldn't be available for the three practice games against Australia next month either, but insisted that it was an opportunity to ready the reserve players.

"We've known this is going to be the situation for a long time, so we've just got to move on and prepare our guys the best we can," he said.

The New Zealand XI to play in Australia will be led by wicket-keeper batsman Tom Latham. They will play three unofficial one-dayers against a full-strength home side on 5, 7 and 9 May.

Williamson has played in four IPL matches this season - AFP
Williamson has played in four IPL matches this season - AFP

Latham was chuffed about being handed captaincy, and said it was an opportunity to improve. "It's a chance for me to grow as a leader," the 27-year-old said. "Certainly really looking forward to leading the side against what's going to be a really strong Australian team."

What's worrying for New Zealand is that none of the eight New Zealand players at the IPL have been able to feature consistently so far. Kane Williamson, the Sunrisers Hyderabad captain, has played only four games and scored just 28 runs.

Mitchell Santner, Colin Munro, Trent Boult, Lockie Ferguson, Colin de Grandhomme and Tim Southee have all played only a few games each, while Martin Guptill is yet to feature this season.

"It would be nice if a few more of them played," said Latham. "But they're professional enough to know what they need for the next couple of months."

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