World Cup 2015: New Zealand March 5, 2015

The grounded Kiwis

New Zealand have played an unchanged XI in all four games so far, but that's not because they don't have strength on the bench

New Zealand have played an unchanged XI throughout their unbeaten start to the World Cup, and though some rotation is possible in the final two group matches, it is far from certain with a tricky balance between resting players and risking a loss of impetus. With the first XI becoming familiar faces, here is a reminder of the other four players in the squad and what they could offer

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Will New Zealand test bench strength against Afghanistan?

Tom Latham
The 22-year-old is the reserve batsman in the squad and his chance of a match will probably rely on injury rather than rotation, with coach Mike Hesson wary of any of the incumbents losing rhythm because New Zealand's last two group matches are spaced well apart. Latham made the World Cup squad because of his versatility: he seen as a player who could slot into any position from No. 1 to 6. His one-day figures are less convincing than his early Test returns (an average of 23.90 versus 40.23) and in the five ODIs he played in January he did not pass fifty. After three weeks without an innings it would be a tough call for him to play now.

Nathan McCullum
As Daniel Vettori fought his way back to fitness, McCullum proved an able understudy. A career average of 47.78 does not set the world alight but his economy rate is under five-an-over (only twice in his 78-match career has he conceded more than 60 runs in an innings). Also, in the good New Zealand tradition, he is more than just a bowler. His batting now packs more punch than Vettori's and, like his brother Brendon, he is agile in the field. Given Vettori's injury history, he will be one of the likely candidates for a rest if the winning XI is broken up over the next couple of weeks. New Zealand will not be fielding a two-spinner attack.

Kyle Mills
The experienced head among the pace bowlers, having made his debut in 2001, though curiously only four of his 170 caps have come in World Cups - one in 2003 and three in 2011 (Mills was not part of the 2007 squad). He was hindered by injury in the build-up to this tournament, featuring in just three of the matches against Sri Lanka and Pakistan. There was a feeling he was slipping down the pecking order, though his performance of 2 for 29 off ten overs came in the last ODI before the World Cup, and by the opening match he was not in serious contention for the starting XI. Mills is still capable of testing spells, as he shown against Pakistan, especially with the two new balls on offer. He would probably need Tim Southee or Adam Milne to be given a game off to get himself on the park.

Mitchell McClenaghan
Of the four reserves, it is McClenaghan who can feel the harshest done by in not making the starting XI. Trent Boult's elevation over the last few months has cost McClenaghan his spot despite him being the joint second fastest to fifty wickets in ODIs. A different style of left-armer to Boult, McClenaghan is a more hit-the-wicket operator than the pitch-up swing version. Arguably he is more versatile later in the innings as he also possesses a sharp yorker, though New Zealand are not lacking in the bowling department with the current side. His current batting average of 29.50 inflates his ability somewhat, though he did make an unbeaten 34 against South Africa, and on debut - also against South Africa - he held one end up while James Franklin stole a victory in Paarl. Not as athletic in the field as Southee, Boult or Milne.

Andrew McGlashan is a senior assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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