Cricket: Test squad remains unchanged

By Andrew Alderson

Corey Anderson celebrates the wicket of Marlon Samuels against the West Indies.
Corey Anderson celebrates the wicket of Marlon Samuels against the West Indies.

Success against the West Indies has brought loyalty from the New Zealand Cricket selection panel with all incumbents recalled for next month's two-test series against India.

The only addition is Jesse Ryder. He will travel with the squad as cover for Ross Taylor, whose second child is due during the series.

The first test begins on February 6, Waitangi Day, at Eden Park.

Selection manager Bruce Edgar says while the squad is settled, other players are challenging.

"We've been really pleased with how this group has performed and they've been rewarded. However, there's a lot of talented players in the wings, with the likes of Hamish Bennett, Jimmy Neesham, Tom Latham, Martin Guptill and Jesse Ryder all pushing to be involved. That brings out the best in players, and poses some hard questions.

"We've made a lot of progress in the test format recently but India are a class side and will give us a good gauge of where the team is at."

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New Zealand coach Mike Hesson says Ryder will only play in the middle order if Taylor is unavailable. He will not be considered at the expense of Corey Anderson, Ish Sodhi or openers Peter Fulton and Hamish Rutherford.

"Numbers 3, 4 and 5 [Kane Williamson, Taylor and Brendon McCullum] had a good series against the West Indies so there's no spot for him [Ryder] there.

"We have a clear blueprint to the way we want to play. Corey does the job at six especially because he's an additional bowling option and if Ish didn't play - it would have to be an incredibly green seamer for that to happen - we'd probably play an extra bowler."

Hesson stressed Fulton and Rutherford would be persevered with as openers. The pair have been picked for a New Zealand XI which will play a two-day warm-up match against India on February 2 in Whangarei to get a sighter of the Indian bowlers.

"Martin [Guptill] and Tom [Latham] have been discussed as options and they're pressing their claims but we're showing faith in Hamish and Peter," Hesson said. "Hamish demonstrated good qualities in Hamilton to get us through [to the win unbeaten] and we all know what Peter did last time at Eden Park [as the fourth New Zealander to score two centuries in the same test]. It's a hard side to make at the moment."


New Zealand test squad for series v India:

Brendon McCullum (c) - Otago
Corey Anderson - Northern Districts
Trent Boult - Northern Districts
Doug Bracewell - Central Districts
Peter Fulton - Canterbury
Hamish Rutherford - Otago
Jesse Ryder - Otago
Ish Sodhi - Northern Districts
Tim Southee - Northern Districts
Ross Taylor - Central Districts
Neil Wagner - Otago
BJ Watling - Northern Districts
Kane Williamson - Northern Districts

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