Cricket: Black Cap selectors opt for players of the future

Michael Bates (L) joins Auckland teammate Martin Guptill (R) in the one-day and Twenty20 squads. Photo / Getty Images
Michael Bates (L) joins Auckland teammate Martin Guptill (R) in the one-day and Twenty20 squads. Photo / Getty Images

A handful of newcomers will be given a chance to impress in the one-day and Twenty20 internationals against Zimbabwe as the New Zealand selectors cast one eye to the future.

Auckland leg spinner Tarun Nethula, Canterbury batsman Dean Brownlie, Auckland left-armer Michael Bates, Canterbury wicketkeeper-batsman Tom Latham and Canterbury allrounder Andrew Ellis have all been included in the one-day squad and Bates, Auckland left-arm spinner Ronnie Hira and Auckland allrounder Colin de Grandhomme have been picked for the Twenty20 squad.

Brendon McCullum will captain the sides in the absence of the injured Ross Taylor, who tore a calf muscle yesterday when batting in the test against Zimbabwe and is expected to be out until the one-day series against South Africa. Jesse Ryder is also still missing with injury, perhaps opening the door for test incumbent Brownlie, who has played two Twenty20 internationals but yet to make his ODI debut.

Graeme Aldridge, Luke Woodcock and Andy McKay are casualties from the side who toured Zimbabwe late last year and BJ Watling, who scored his maiden test century today, doesn't feature in either side.

National selection manager Kim Littlejohn said this year's Twenty20 World Cup and the 2015 one-day World Cup loomed high in their thinking.

"We believe we have selected two strong squads with a balance of experienced players and cricketers we consider ready for the challenge of international cricket,'' Littlejohn said.

"The new caps have earned their chance through solid performances at domestic level and we think it's the right time to take a look at players who will be in the frame for the Twenty20 World Cup later in the year, and looking further ahead to the 2015 ODI World Cup.

"The larger squad of 14 will allows us to provide opportunities for the new players and manage the workload of the others, especially bowlers, who feature in all three forms for the Black Caps.

"Although it is disappointing for the likes of Luke Woodcock, Graeme Aldridge, Andy McKay and BJ Watling, who miss out, we are pleased that there's real competition for places and, by the end of the series, will benefit from having another group of guys with international experience.

"Tarun Nethula and Ronnie Hira have been the form spinners this season and richly deserve their selection through consistently good performances.

"Michael Bates has been one of the best pace bowlers for Auckland over a number of seasons and is a skilful death bowler who also offers us a left-arm option. Colin de Grandhomme and Andrew Ellis also played extremely well in the HRV Cup and their all-round skills with bat and ball are well suited to ODI and T20 cricket.

"Tom Latham is an exciting keeper batsman who is very well equipped for short-form cricket and we think he has the potential to make a big impact on the international scene."

The 19-year-old Latham, son of former international Rod Latham, was a top performer throughout the HRV Cup Twenty20 competition and reaffirmed his potential with an impressive 130 off 119 balls in a one-day match against Wellington during the week. He's been touted as a player with considerable international potential and his chance has come early.

Bates has been one of the country's top limited-overs exponents in recent years and was equal-top wicket taker in the HRV Cup with 14 with Auckland teammate Hira who, perhaps more importantly, went for only 5.85 runs per over in the Twenty20 competition.

The drums have been beating this season for Nethula, who provides variation with his leg-spinners.

De Grandhomme combines big hitting at the top of the order as well as useful medium-paced bowling and Ellis is another who can contribute with both bat and ball.


New Zealand one-day squad

Brendon McCullum (c _ Otago), Michael Bates (Auckland), Doug Bracewell (Central Districts), Dean Brownlie (Canterbury), Andrew Ellis (Canterbury), Martin Guptill (Auckland), Tom Latham (Canterbury), Nathan McCullum (Otago), Kyle Mills (Auckland), Tarun Nethula (Central Districts), Rob Nicol (Canterbury), Jacob Oram (Central Districts), Tim Southee (Northern Districts), Kane Williamson (Northern Districts).


New Zealand Twenty20 squad

Brendon McCullum (c _ Otago ), Michael Bates (Auckland), Doug Bracewell (Central Districts), Dean Brownlie (Canterbury), Colin de Grandhomme (Auckland), James Franklin (Wellington), Martin Guptill (Auckland), Ronnie Hira (Auckland), Nathan McCullum (Otago), Kyle Mills (Auckland), Rob Nicol (Canterbury), Jacob Oram (Central Districts), Tim Southee (Northern Districts), Kane Williamson (Northern Districts).

Schedule

Feb 3: First ODI, University Oval, Dunedin - 11am

Feb 6: Second ODI, Cobham Oval, Whangarei - 11am

Feb 9: Third ODI, McLean Park, Napier - 2pm

Feb 11: First T20 international, Eden Park, Auckland - 7pm

Feb 14: Second T20 international, Seddon Park, Hamilton - 7pm

- APNZ

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