12 Oct 2017

Latham spins his way down to middle order

5:54 pm on 12 October 2017
Tom Latham is comfortable playing the sweep shot to spin bowling.

Tom Latham is comfortable playing the sweep shot to spin bowling. Photo: www.photosport.nz

Tom Latham's ability against spin will see him make a return to the middle of the batting order for the New Zealand cricket team's one day series in India.

Latham featured in the middle order when his career in the Black Caps 50-over team begun more than seven years ago but he steadily transitioned to an opening role alongside Martin Guptill by 2015.

While that move has reaped at times mixed rewards, the compact Canterbury left-hander performed well during a 3-2 series loss in India this time last year, averaging almost 50.

The New Zealand coach Mike Hesson felt it made sense to give Latham a new role and said George Worker and Colin Munro were the candidates to become Guptill's new partner at the top of the one-day order.

"Tom is pushing his case as someone who can keep and bat in the middle," Hesson said as the team left for India today.

"Certainly his ability against spin is critical for that. Tom was probably our best performed batsman 12 months ago in India in those spin friendly conditions which is helpful."

Along with pitches suited to spin, the Black Caps will likely have to deal with plenty of heat across the three-match series, which is followed by three T20 encounters.

The foreign environment for the visitors means adapting quickly will be vital.

The visitors desire to do so is evidenced by their decision to pick an initial squad of just nine and select the remaining players from the New Zealand A team taking part in an ongoing five-match one-day series in India.

The Virat Kohli-led Indian side are coming off a 4-1 thumping of Australia in their five-match one-day series and Hesson knew dealing with conditions in an effective manner was key if they were to push their in-form hosts during the next three weeks.

"Their record over there has been phenomenal over the last two or three years.

"You know going over there you have to perform otherwise you get dealt a pretty harsh lesson, so it's important for us to adapt quickly."

The first ODI is in Mumbai in 10 days time, with the T20 series starting in Delhi on November 1.