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Brendon McCullum returns for Chappell-Hadlee Trophy

Brendon McCullum returns for Chappell-Hadlee Trophy
Brendon McCullum is also expected to play the final ODI against Pakistan in Auckland.
©REUTERS / Action Images

New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum is all set to make a return from a back injury and lead the Black Caps in the upcoming One-Day International series against Australia.

McCullum is also expected to return to the New Zealand side for the third ODI against Pakistan on Sunday and will take over as captain from Kane Williamson. 

The flamboyant batsman, who will retire from international cricket after the Test series against Australia revealed that he had good practice sessions and is expecting to play the third ODI against Pakistan in Auckland.

“I’ve had a good couple of hits,” said McCullum.

“It’s probably not 100 per cent but there’s a bit of stiffness so hopefully I’ll be fine for tomorrow.”

The New Zealand selectors have also named Tom Latham as cover for McCullum in case the 34-year-old is unable to take part in the series against Australia.

Meanwhile, Ross Taylor has already been ruled out of the ODI series against Australia and New Zealand coach Mike Hesson is hoping that the 31-year-old will recover in time for the Test series.

“Ross is making progress,” said Hesson.

“It’s a little bit hard to put a time-frame on it.

“He’s still seeing a specialist and making some good progress.

“We’re hopeful for the first Test, but it’s certainly not guaranteed at this stage.”

Citing the rivalry between New Zealand and Australia, Hesson stated that the Black Caps are eager to retain the Chappell-Hadlee trophy which they won in 2015 during the Cricket World Cup clash in Auckland.

“This is a pinnacle event for us and we’ll look to get our best side out on the park each time we play.

“We’ve been lucky enough to use a big squad over the summer and although we’re missing a few key players, we have guys who can step in and we know are up to the task.

“The Chappell Hadlee Trophy is something we want to hold on to.

“The rivalry between these two sides is huge and it’s going to be three intense games in front of some big crowds.” 

Fast bowlers Tim Southee and Mitchell McClenaghan have also been ruled out of the Australia ODIs due to their respective injuries while Doug Bracewell has been included.

New Zealand have received another injury scare when Martin Guptill twisted his ankle during training on Saturday ahead of the third ODI against Pakistan.

Hesson revealed that the team management will not take a risk with Guptill and will only play him on Sunday if he is fully fit.

“We won’t know a lot more until tomorrow morning but he (Martin Guptill) is probably 50/50 at this stage.

“We won’t play him unless he’s fit.

“Twisted ankle is one of those ones he could wake up and be fine or it could be sore for 24/48 hours.

“It’s nothing major but it’s not ideal.

“We’ve got Tom Latham with us.

“Brendon seemed to get through training well today so thankfully we’ve got that cover with us.”

The three-match ODI series between New Zealand and Australia will be played between 3rd and 8th February with Auckland, Wellington and Hamilton as the venues.

New Zealand squad for Australia ODIs:

Brendon McCullum (captain), Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson, Henry Nicholls, Grant Elliott, Corey Anderson, Colin Munro, Luke Ronchi (wk), Mitchell Santner, Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Adam Milne, Matt Henry

© Cricket World 2016