Cricket: Astle only new face in test squad

Todd Astle, left, in action for Canterbury. Photo / Getty Images
Todd Astle, left, in action for Canterbury. Photo / Getty Images

Canterbury's Todd Astle is the new face in the 15-strong New Zealand test squad that was named today to tour Sri Lanka at the end of the month.

The all-rounder has been called in at the expense of fellow leg-spinner Tarun Nethula who has been dropped to give him time to play in the Plunket Shield, which also kicks off later this month.

New Zealand Cricket also announced a 15-strong squad for the single Twenty20 international and five one-day games.

The short-form squad includes 12 players who featured in the World T20 tournament along with Trent Boult, Andrew Ellis and Tom Latham, who all played in the last ODI series against the West Indies.

Rob Nicol returns to the test squad after being axed from the one-day and T20 line-up, while Doug Bracewell and Martin Guptill are the other major names to miss out on the games that will be played in coloured clothing.

National selection manager, Kim Littlejohn, said: "We have kept faith with the bulk of the players who took part in the recent winter tours and ICC World Twenty20.

"It has been a demanding period for the Black Caps, especially for the players who compete in all three forms. As part of the ongoing management of player workload we have decided to rest Martin Guptill for the T20 and ODI matches so he can refresh for the upcoming international commitments.

"The one new face is Todd Astle. He has the ability to contribute in all three facets of the game and deserves his opportunity after a putting in consistent performances over a number of seasons," he said.

26-year-old Astle averaged 13.7 with the bat for Canterbury in last season's Plunket Shield, scoring 192 runs from 17 innings. He has a first class average of 22.39 and has scored one ton and eight half centuries for his province.

A right-arm leg break spin bowler he has taken 127 first class wickets with a best of 6-28. He finished with the fifth most wickets in last year's Plunket Shield and averaged 38.35 with the ball.

The tour begins with a Twenty20 match in Kandy on October 30 before five ODIs and two test matches.

Littlejohn said Doug Bracewell will only play in the test series.

"Doug Bracewell will miss the short-form matches so he can spend some time working on a few minor technical issues with his action. The best approach is to spend time getting things right in domestic four-day cricket ahead of the test series.

"BJ Watling will return to New Zealand after the one-day matches. He has spent a lot of time touring but has had limited opportunities to play and we believe it is best for his development if he's made available for the upcoming Plunket Shield fixtures.''

Daniel Vettori was not considered due to an Achilles injury.

Test squad:
Ross Taylor (c) - Central Stags
Todd Astle - Canterbury Wizards
Trent Boult - Northern Knights
Doug Bracewell - Central Stags
Daniel Flynn - Northern Knights
James Franklin - Wellington Firebirds
Martin Guptill - Auckland Aces
Chris Martin - Auckland Aces
Brendon McCullum - Otago Volts
Rob Nicol - Canterbury Wizards
Jeetan Patel - Wellington Firebirds
Tim Southee - Northern Knights
Kruger van Wyk - Central Stags
Neil Wagner - Otago Volts
Kane Williamson - Northern Knights

ODI and Twenty20 squad:
Ross Taylor (c) - Central Stags
Trent Boult - Northern Knights
Andrew Ellis - Canterbury Wizards
James Franklin - Wellington Firebirds
Roneel Hira - Canterbury Wizards
Rob Nicol - Canterbury Wizards
Tom Latham - Canterbury Wizards
Brendon McCullum - Otago Volts
Nathan McCullum - Otago Volts
Kyle Mills - Auckland Aces
Adam Milne - Central Stags
Jacob Oram - Central Stags
Tim Southee - Northern Knights
BJ Watling - Northern Knights
Kane Williamson - Northern Knights

- APNZ

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