New Zealand begin their ICC Cricket World Cup Super League campaign this week against Bangladesh. It is the first step for the Black Caps in the qualification process for the next Men’s World Cup.
While Stead still has two years to whittle down his list of players for the World Cup, he knows it won’t be easy. He also knows that is a very good problem for the Black Caps to have as they chase their first men’s World Cup trophy.
"It is exciting as coach when you sit round the selection table and start looking at the names you expect to keep coming through the way they are developing," Stead said. "It's hard to write 15 names down when there could be up to 30 vying for those spots. That's a good place to be though.
"The strength of New Zealand cricket at the moment is seen in the Black Caps but it's also driven from below that with our New Zealand A programs. The domestic game is also in good heart because we are producing people who perform well when they come to international level.”
With captain Kane Williamson (elbow) ruled out of the series and Ross Taylor (hamstring) the first match, contenders for selection at the next World Cup will get the chance to start building their cases this week against Bangladesh.
Saturday’s series opener will be the first ODI where New Zealand has been without both Williamson and Taylor since 2014.
Their absence opens the door for potential ODI debuts for Devon Conway and Will Young, while all-rounder Daryl Mitchell will also be hoping to receive his first ODI cap in the middle order.
"They are two positions in the order that we have a lot of faith in and strength in New Zealand cricket," Stead said of the No.3 and 4 slots in the batting order. "The opportunity for Devon and Will to come in is really exciting for them. They are both fine players which we've seen in our domestic formats and also international cricket to date."
Young has played two Tests so far and shone in New Zealand’s warm-up matches in Brisbane ahead of the 2019 World Cup, hitting two centuries against Australia but sitting out the tournament because of a shoulder surgery.
Conway made his T20I debut in the summer and has excelled on the international stage so far, averaging 52.28 across his first 11 matches.
Tom Latham will captain New Zealand in the absence of Williamson.