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'Play what team you think is best' - Black Caps coy on selections for Afghanistan clash

The Black Caps are welcoming their latest selection conundrum, with batsman Henry Nicholls now available for selection heading into tomorrow night's clash with Afghanistan in Taunton.

Missing New Zealand's opening two wins over Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, Nicholls has recovered from his hamstring concerns, and could slot back into the Black Caps' XI - in either the top or middle order.

Coach Gary Stead though, giving nothing away as to the makeup of his side, looking for their third straight win, but did welcome Nicholls' return.

"Part of the squad that we've selected is making sure we've got people that we can pull in and out in different positions," Stead told media.

"Henry's one guy that we think can cover different bases for us, and that will again depend on what we think is the right balance."

Stead also suggested that his side won't be picked on sentiment, eager for the best XI to play every game possible for the duration of the tournament.

"Our planning is for all players to be able to play every game. I think when you get to the World Cup, you want to play what team you think is the best right throughout."

Recent history would suggest that Taunton's County Ground perhaps favours the spin-heavy attack of Afghanistan, although a green twinge on the pitch has the Black Caps' seamers licking their lips.

"We're expecting a wicket with good pace in it," Stead continued.

"It does spin a little for their four day games, but  I imagine this is going to be pretty well grassed and our plans won't differ too much from what you've seen in the first two games."

The Black Caps have met Afghanistan just once in their history, coming in the 2015 World Cup - resulting in a six-wicket victory for the Black Caps, with Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Tim Southee and Trent Boult returning from that XI.

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The left-hander has recovered from injury ahead of Sunday night’s encounter. Source: 1 NEWS


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