New Zealand have used several different opening combinations in 50-over cricket since 2019, with Martin Guptill losing his place and negotiating a release from his central contract. Allen has become a regular in their T20I line-up, opening the batting at last year’s World Cup in Australia, and has scored five half-centuries in his 17 ODIs, averaging 31.35.
“Youngy is a quality player,” Tom Latham, who will captain during the England series, said. “He’s been in the mix for us for a long period of time and hasn’t had a lot of opportunities but the opportunities [he has had] in recent times, he’s played really well. It’s another great opportunity for him to come in and put some performances on the board.”
Both Allen and Young are part of the New Zealand squad that will travel to Bangladesh immediately after the England series, and Latham suggested that Allen will get a chance to force a rethink at some stage. Teams can make changes to their provisional World Cup squads before September 28, the day after New Zealand’s third and final ODI in Bangladesh.
“We’ve got seven one-day games and a couple of warm-up games leading into that World Cup, but we’re trying to stay where our feet are and focus on these games rather than looking too far ahead,” Latham said. “It’s obviously great to play England, who are a quality side. We know conditions are going to be slightly different but for us, it’s about trying to play our brand of cricket as best as we possibly can.
“There’s a balance of both, obviously wanting to put your best team out but also understanding that we’ve got a lot of cricket coming up – a lot of games leading up to that World Cup. There will be guys having a little bit of rest every now and again, and coming off the back of four T20s, we want to make sure guys are fresh and ready to go rather than blowing them out, a month out.
“Again, Finn is a quality player. We’ve seen that in the games that he’s played for New Zealand. He’s very destructive at the top of the order and obviously he might get some opportunities throughout this series at some point… Guys will get opportunities through the series which is great for us, to get guys more experience against quality sides, and hopefully, if they are required throughout a World Cup, they’re ready to go.”
This will be the first time England and New Zealand have faced one another in a men’s ODI since the 2019 World Cup final at Lord’s. “It was a great game of cricket, wasn’t it?” Latham said with a smile. “It would have been nice to be on the other side, but it was probably one of the best one-day games you’ll ever see. It’d be pretty hard to top that game.”
The sides will also face each other on the opening night of the World Cup in Ahmedabad in four weeks’ time. “Conditions are going to be completely different,” Latham said. “For us, it’s just about focusing on our brand… it’s for us to play some good cricket here, and then our focus will change to adapting to conditions and what we’re faced with over in India.”
Friday’s first ODI is scheduled to finish 15 minutes before the start of the Rugby World Cup, where New Zealand face hosts France in the opening game at the Stade de France in Paris. Latham offered his support to the All Blacks, and said that he expected the game to be on in the dressing room.
“We’ll have to wait and see the situation of the game,” he said. “That’s another exciting tournament. There are a lot of passionate All Blacks supporters in our dressing room so I’m sure that, if the time works, we’ll have it on the TVs at some point. Hopefully the All Blacks go really well this time.”
Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98