New Zealand name squad for Zimbabwe and South Africa tours
New Zealand Cricket has named a 15-man squad for the upcoming limited overs tours of Zimbabwe and South Africa in August.
Afterwards, New Zealand will travel to South Africa to take part in a two-match T20I series, which will be followed by a three-match ODI series, between 14th and 26th August.
Kane Williamson has been named as the captain while key players like Brendon McCullum, Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Corey Anderson are the prominent names missing from the squad.
While McCullum and Southee are given a rest, Boult and Anderson are out with injuries, giving a chance for other players to stake their claims.
Tom Latham and Colin Munro were given a nod for the tours, whereas Adam Milne and James Neesham make a return from injury.
Spinner Ish Sodhi has been selected only for the Zimbabwe tour and will be replaced by fast bowler Doug Bracewell in the South Africa series.
Justifying the decision to pick Sodhi and Bracewell selectively for the two series, New Zealand coach and selector Mike Hesson said that it was due to the playing conditions in the two countries.
“We think Ish (Sodhi) will be useful on pitches which tend to be slow and take turn, and against a Zimbabwe team stacked with right-handers.
“But we’re unlikely to need a third spinner in South Africa, which is why we’ve opted for another seamer in Doug (Bracewell).”
Zimbabwe Tour Itinerary
2nd August v Zimbabwe, Harare, 1st ODI
4th August v Zimbabwe, Harare, 2nd ODI
7th August v Zimbabwe, Harare, 3rd ODI
9th August v Zimbabwe, Harare, T20I
South Africa Tour Itinerary
14th August v South Africa, Durban, 1st T20I
16th August v South Africa, Centurion, 2nd T20I
19th August v South Africa, Centurion, 1st ODI
23rd August v South Africa, Potchefstroom, 2nd ODI
26th August v South Africa, Durban, 3rd ODI
Hesson claimed that the absence of mainstream players gives a great chance for others to show their mettle, further adding that he was looking forward to see Williamson lead the team.
“There are chances there for batsmen such as Tom and Colin, for Ish and for a handful of bowlers.
“And, not least, it’s another good opportunity for (stand-in captain) Kane Williamson to continue upskilling in terms of leadership.”
Despite the absence of key players, Hesson urged the team to live up to expectations without relying on individual performances, citing the performance against Pakistan, last summer.
“This is a team which has built up an impressive record on the international circuit in recent times and the expectation is that we continue to perform, regardless of who might be missing.
“We were also without some key players (McCullum, Southee and Boult) on last summer’s away series against Pakistan, and still managed to win 3-2 – thanks to other players stepping up.
“Our focus is on continuing to produce strong team performances, rather than be distracted by the presence or absence of specific individuals.”
The squad will first partake in a training camp in Potchefstroom, before heading to Harare for the games against Zimbabwe.
New Zealand squad for Zimbabwe and South Africa tours:
Kane Williamson (captain), Doug Bracewell (South Africa series only), Grant Elliott, Matt Henry, Martin Guptill, Tom Latham, Mitchell McClenaghan, Nathan McCullum, Adam Milne, Colin Munro, James Neesham, Luke Ronchi, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi (Zimbabwe series only), Ross Taylor, Ben Wheeler.
© Cricket World 2015