Gary Stead: Bangladesh series an opportunity to look at ‘potential faces for the future’

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New Zealand head coach Gary Stead said the reason behind picking a new-look squad for the Bangladesh ODIs, including three uncapped players, was with one eye on resting some of the regulars who have been on tour with the national team for a long time and another on starting preparations for the next ODI World Cup in 2027. The three-match series begins on Sunday in Dunedin.

“Look, the guys who have been rested have been away for a long period of time. If you look back, it’s anything up to three to four months away on the road. So for us, finding that balance between playing series and looking at the health and physical wellbeing of these players is really important,” Stead said at a press conference. “We’ve got a huge summer in front of us with a lot of cricket coming up. So it’s really having conversations with the guys that when they are playing, they are mentally fresh and ready to go.

“It’s also the start of an ICC cycle. So this is the first ODI games when we prepare for 2027 in South Africa,” Stead said. “And whilst that might seem a long time away, we don’t actually play any other ODIs for another nine or ten months after this. So it’s an opportunity to look at some potential faces for the future.”

“The reason they’ve been selected is we’ve seen things we like in their game. So it’s really about coming in and just being themselves,” Stead said. “We try and put them in roles similar to what they play in domestic games. Sometimes it’s slightly different, so it’s just making sure they’re nice and clear on what their roles are and what we expect of them.

“But really, it’s about being themselves and coming in and enjoying the environment.”

Fast bowler Sears has been picked for the first ODI but is currently not in the squad for the second and third games. However, with Kyle Jamieson unlikely to take part in this series after returning from the Bangladesh Test tour with a stiff hamstring, Sears could end up being retained for the whole series, Stead said.

“Josh Clarkson is one of the hardest hitters in New Zealand and certainly puts bowlers on notice if they miss.”

Stead on the uncapped batter in the squad

Stead also heaped praise on Sears, saying that he brings something different from the other fast bowlers in the squad.

“The other three bowlers we look at in that squad right now are new-ball bowlers and can bowl, I guess, more up front. Ben gives us that option of having genuine pace through the middle overs. So it’s exciting,” he said. “We’ve had Ben in the past. He’s had a bit of an injury run for a while, but he’s back bowling fast again, and we like the look of the way he’s going.”

Stead also said he is excited to see O’Rourke and Clarkson in action.

“We’ve had a couple of trainings out there. Will O’Rourke certainly troubled a number of our batsmen yesterday. It was spicy and new ball doing plenty, that was encouraging to see. He gets good bounce off the wicket, which is nice.”

“Josh Clarkson is one of the hardest hitters in New Zealand and certainly puts bowlers on notice if they miss,” Stead said. “It’s exciting to see the skillsets that they bring. I think when you have new and inexperienced people at the international level that come to it, it brings that added excitement to the group as well, so that’s always nice to see.”

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