Cricket: Continuity key for Black Caps

By Daniel Richardson

Black Caps coach Mike Hesson has backed Corey Anderson to shine against India. Photo / Getty
Black Caps coach Mike Hesson has backed Corey Anderson to shine against India. Photo / Getty

Having selection continuity is a welcome change of pace for Black Caps coach Mike Hesson as his side approaches their five-match one-day series against India, which begins at McLean Park in Napier on Sunday.

The New Zealand selectors last night named a 13-strong squad to meet India. Every player featured in the one-day series against the West Indies, which finished 2-2.

The Black Caps wrapped up the Twenty20 component of the West Indies tour yesterday with a four-wicket win in Wellington to seal a 2-0 series victory. Hesson was immediately forced to turn his attention to the incoming Indians.

With such little time between the different opponents, Hesson said it was nice to be able to call upon the same players again, particularly with an eye to the batting line-up, which has endured plenty of change in the past two years.

"It's something that we've struggled to do, especially in the shorter form and especially at the top of the order,'' Hesson said.

"We've had a lot of injuries and had to rotate a lot of different guys, so to be able to give Jesse [Ryder] and Martin [Guptill] a good opportunity to string a number of games together [is positive].''

That consistency of selection means pacemen Mitchell McClenaghan, Tim Southee, Kyle Mills and Adam Milne will all be scrapping for a spot in the match-day XI.

"We've got four good quicks vying for three spots in that first ODI,'' Hesson said. "So it'll be a good discussion to have. I look forward to it.''

Mills turns 35 in March and is a player who could be under pressure to retain his spot in the squad given the rise of youthful prospects like Trent Boult but Hesson said Mills would be given ample opportunity to prove himself against India and would likely be given the new ball when selected.

India, the No 1-ranked one-day side in the world, are coming off a testing 50-over series in South Africa where they lost 2-0, but will still represent a stern challenge for New Zealand although Hesson's side will be at their best in home conditions.

Since his world-record innings against the West Indies in Queenstown on New Year's Day, Corey Anderson has barely fired a shot with bat or ball but Hesson backed the 23-year-old to shine against India.

"He's definitely a little bit fatigued and I think this next couple of days rest will be a good break for him,'' Hesson said.

"But he's excited about India, as everyone is, so there might be a time during the series that he doesn't play and that's just a matter of managing his loads really.''

Resting Anderson in a game could see all four frontline seamers play and give the promising Jimmy Neesham a chance to slide up the batting order.

Given New Zealand bat so low down with their current line-up, resting Anderson wouldn't create a major issue.

After the five-match one-day series, New Zealand and India will play two test matches next month.

- APNZ

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