Originally Posted by DanielVettoriSpin
Yeah, I'd kind of given up on Southee. He's thick as mince and a very frustrating player to be a 'supporter' of. Mainly evidenced by how brainless his batting is 90% of the time. Over the past couple of years, both Boult and Southee have been dining out a little on past successes, and the cracks have been covered over by Wagner. Boult hasn't been quite the same since his stress fracture on the last tour of the UK. Recently, both players have been looking better - though perhaps that's because of the West Indies being woeful.
Raval - Bit of a flat track hero in domestic cricket, but has done better than expected since debuting in place of Guptill. Consistently seems to score 50s and then can't go on. Odd, as the main problem for him would be his concrete boots early doors. Useful slipper. Can't argue with his returns given how few consistent openers NZ have had.
Latham - Undroppable at this stage, but needs to get a bit more consistency. Can't help but think he'll end his career averaging mid-high 30s, but for an opener in NZ, that's pretty good.
Williamson © - Not much to say. In a race with Taylor to beat Martin Crowe's test centuries record, which might be putting a bit of psychological pressure on him.
Taylor - Don't let him get himself in. Has had problems with eyesight in recent years with growths needing to be operated on. NZ need him in peak fitness to win the series.
Nicholls - Overperforming spud. This could be a series too far for Nicholls. More Tests this year might have put pressure on him to be replaced by, perhaps Guptill, or one of a number of younger players
Watling - Surely straight back into the team. Blundell did well enough, but outside of his home ground of the Basin, looked a bit clueless against the West Indian quicks. Blundell surely dogmeat against the more persistent England bowlers. Watling much more solid and will allow Santner to be pushed down to 7.
Santner - Takes the mantle of the Mitchell no-rounder after Marsh scored two tons in the ashes. Not a Test match batsman, nor a test match bowler. NZ really should be playing Todd Astle, or - ideally - find a way to get Sodhi in the team.
de Grandhomme - Has delivered thus far, much against expectation with both ball and bat. Dibbly dobbly bowling has been much more penetrative than expected, though he would be cannon-fodder in most places around the world. Destructive batsman can take a game away from you in a session, much like Adam Gilchrist. England need to work out his weaknesses before they arrive here so he can't make a mark.
Wagner - Amazingly successful with the short ball at 135km/h. Skiddy left arm bowler meaning the short ball comes in at an unusual trajectory.
Southee - Pillock. Really needs swing to be effective.
Boult - Really the dangerman if there's a modicum of swing. Swing tends to come late. One of the more effective #11 batsmen out there.
I'd say that'll be NZ's line-up for both Tests, unless there's some injuries. A flawed team with a real middle-order problem. Good bowling attack. Similar weaknesses and strengths to England.
A good insight. Thanks for this. Man for man, I think the lineups are pretty even.
1. Raval vs Cook- Cook wins
2. Latham vs Stoneman- Latham wins
3. Williamson vs Vince- Williamson wins
4. Taylor vs Root- Root wins
5. Nicholls vs Malan- Malan wins (just)
6. Watling vs Bairstow- all square
7. Santner vs Ali- all square
8. de Grandhomme vs Woakes- all square
9. Southee vs Overton- all square
10. Wagner vs Broad- all square
11. Boult vs Anderson- all square
Should be a good series. Going for a 1-1.