Tom Latham
Credits: Twitter @ICC

Twelve years in international cricket: A decade in international cricket is quite an achievement for any cricketer. Tom Latham will complete twelve years as a professional international cricketer in February next month. It has been quite a journey for the thirty one -year-old son of former New Zealand Test batsman Rod Latham. Over the years, Latham has become an integral part of the national cricket team. In the initial years, he had a cushion of seniors like Martin Guptill, Ross Taylor, Kane Williamson, BJ Watling, Trent Boult, and Tim Southee. In the later half, he grew into a solid batsman who became a pillar of New Zealand’s batting order.

Time to take his game to the next level: Latham has been a true team man, beyond his batting; he has also donned gloves in limited over cricket to provide the team with an opportunity to play more all-rounders. And above all, he has raised his hand for captaincy duties whenever regular skipper Kane Williamson has been unfit. But at 31, is it time for New Zealand’s evergreen opener to take his game to the next level? With Kane Williamson struggling for fitness, it is time that Latham takes the mantle of senior batter along with Devon Conway. New Zealand has entered a transitional phase where they need to replace some of their best players. There will be a phase when the test team, which has achieved so much in the last 10–12 years, might not be able to achieve as per expectations. In such a scenario, players like Tom Latham will be vital for ensuring this transition is smooth.

There are high chances that he might be the next Test captain once Tim Southee’s tenure as captain comes to an end. All these points make it clear that Latham has to play a crucial role in the teams near future.

Personal record’s beacon as well: Beyond the team’s gain, there are a number of records that should inspire the left-hander to uplift his game and ensure his longer durability. He has played 76 Tests in his career, and his desire to reach the record of 100 Tests will be a big motivating factor. He currently stands at No. 13 in most Tests for New Zealand, but with age on his side, he can also attain the record for the most Tests played for his country.

Apart from this, he has been a very solid Test batsman at the top and currently stands at No. 7 with 5201 runs in all-time run getters. With ample time on his side, if he takes his game to the next level, he could end up being the second-most successful batsman in history, behind Kane Williamson.

Beyond this, Latham has a very good record in one-day internationals, where he has been leading the team of late due to an injury to Kane Williamson. In fact, he has led New Zealand in 44 ODIs’ and has 28 wins and 15 losses. He is certainly a strong contender to take over the captaincy once Kane Williamson, the legendary batsman, decides to step down.

An eye on the 2027 World Cup:  Latham also has a very good record in One day internationals. He has been a steady force inODI cricket right from the beginning of his career. He has scored 4099 runs in 147 matches with an average of 35.03, and considering he also keeps wickets (125 catches and 15 stumps),his record becomes even more impressive. It is hard to see Kane Williamson, Trent Boult, and Tim Southee play in the 2027 World Cup; in such a scenario, it is highly likely that he might be leading the team. By November 2027, he will be 35 years of age, but the work to build the team for the tournament has to begin now. And Tom Latham, the man ever ready for taking up challenges for the team’s cause must be ready.

One reckons, these factors shall give him big motivation to play for a longer period of time, and should he take his game to the next level, Tom Latham can leave an indelible mark not only in New Zealand- but in international cricket.

Moreover, what better moment to find that drive within than starting his home summer season against South Africa and Australia, two of the undisputed giants?


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