Latham to work on wicketkeeping ahead of India tour

Tom Latham swipes the ball over midwicket Getty Images/Sportsfile

Tom Latham will undertake specialist wicketkeeping training ahead of New Zealand's limited-overs tour of India with a vacancy to be filled following Luke Ronchi's retirement after the Champions Trophy.

New Zealand's squads for ODIs and T20s in India, which start next month, are due to be named shortly, with the likelihood a few names will be added after the New Zealand A tour of India which has just started, and Latham has been pulled out of the final week of his deal with Durham so he can return home to prepare for trip.

That indicates he remains an option to replace Ronchi in the 50-over side having had the gloves for a period during New Zealand's last home season. However, the runs dried up for him - he made scores of 7, 0, 0, 2 and 0 while keeping - and he was dropped during the series against South Africa with Ronchi returning.

Latham recaptured his form, without the keeping gloves but as stand-in captain, during the tri-series in Ireland with scores of 54, 104 and 84 at the top of the order, but Ronchi was preferred as Martin Guptill's opening partner in the Champions Trophy as New Zealand aimed to balance their side. Latham was also troubled by a stress fracture of his foot.

Ronchi's retirement means there is now a vacancy behind the stumps and opening the batting, a role Latham could fulfil if the selectors are confident he can manage the workload, especially in the demanding conditions he will face in India. Overall, Latham averages 32.48 in ODIs with three centuries - one apiece against Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and Ireland.

There is currently something of a wicketkeeping trial being undertaken on the New Zealand A tour with that squad including three glovemen: Tom Blundell and Glenn Phillips, who have both had a brief taste of New Zealand's T20 side and the uncapped Tim Seifert. Blundell or Phillips, who played as a batsman on his T20 debut against South Africa, are favoured to get the job for the T20Is against India. New Zealand then have at least 10 T20Is during their season, with three-match series against West Indies and Pakistan plus the tri-series involving Australia and England.

"I'll let my performance do the talking and if I'm good enough, I'm good enough," Blundell told Stuff.co.nz. "I get on pretty well with them both. They're both really good blokes so if one of them gets the nod, I'll be happy for them."

Latham played the last of his 12 T20Is in 2015 so would not appear to be in the mix for that squad. He did play five matches in the NatWest Blast during his Durham stint, scoring 139 runs at a strike-rate 139.00.

In four County Championship appearances - the start of his Durham season was delayed by the stress fracture - he scored 382 runs at 63.66 including two centuries, one of which came on his debut.

He is set to return to Durham next year when international commitments allow and currently New Zealand's schedule during the 2018 English season is quiet.

"Tom has made a fantastic contribution on and off the field during his time here at Durham," said Durham head coach Jon Lewis. "His performances with the bat have been excellent and he is a big influence in the dressing room. Myself and the players are delighted that he will be returning for the entire 2018 campaign".

The club added: "The 25-year-old will now undergo training and specialist keeping work ahead of New Zealand's limited-over matches in India next month. As a consequence, he will miss Durham's final Specsavers County Championship match at Worcestershire next week."