Cricket: Uncapped Nicholls surprise cap in NZ T20 squad

By David Leggat

New Zealand's Henry Nicholls. Photo / Mark Mitchell.
New Zealand's Henry Nicholls. Photo / Mark Mitchell.

Canterbury lefthander Henry Nicholls is the surprise pick in New Zealand's world T20 squad to contest the event in India in March.

Nicholls has played just seven ODIs and is uncapped at international T20 level, but has impressed the selectors and gets the spot many may have assumed would go to Tom Latham.

There are four fast-medium specialist bowlers - Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Mitch McClenaghan and speedster Adam Milne - while legspinner Ish Sodhi has won the spot as third spinner in the 15-man squad.

Veteran offspinner Nathan McCullum, whose last T20 international was in South Africa last August, is recalled for a final swansong before retirement.

His season has been hindered by injury but he had a decent Georgie Pie domestic T20 competition for beaten finalists Otago, taking 13 wickets at 16, with an economy rate of 5.71.

In his 61 T20 internationals, McCullum has taken 55 wickets at 22.8, with a highly acceptable economy rate of 6.91.

New Zealand are in a tough group, alongside India, Australia, Pakistan and a qualifier, probably Bangladesh.

''We've picked what we think is a well-balanced squad for the conditions," selector and national coach Mike Hesson said.

''They are far different to what we're facing over here. The biggest challenge is getting out of pool play, with three sub-continental sides and Australia and only two to go through. It is going to be tough.

''The challenge for us is adapting and hopefully we've got the squad with enough experience who can do that."

New Zealand's squad for the world T20 in India:

Kane Williamson (c), Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, Grant Elliott, Corey Anderson, Luke Ronchi, Mitch Santner, Ish Sodhi, Nathan McCullum, Adam Milne, Tim Southee, Mitch McClenaghan, Trent Boult.

New Zealand's schedule:
March 15: v India, Nagpur
March 17: v Australia, Dharamsala
March 22: v Pakistan, Mohali
March 26: v qualifier (likely Bangladesh), Kolkata

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