Ross Taylor is set to make his return from injury in next weekend's Island of Origin Twenty20 match at the Basin Reserve after losing a race against time to be ready for Saturday's second test against Australia.

Taylor has been named to captain the North Island side in the match, in which 21 of the 24 players across both teams have represented their country.

The Black Caps batsman has sat out the entire tour against Australia with a side strain.

Taylor had harboured hopes of returning for the series finale at Hagley Oval after completing back-to-back net sessions in Wellington during the first test, but ran out of time. He suffered a 10cm tear in his side during the Twenty20 international against Pakistan on January 22 and only started hitting balls again late last week.


Next weekend's Island of Origin showdown will give Taylor a much-needed hit-out ahead of next month's Twenty20 World Cup in India.

"I'm excited to be part of the match and expect to see both sides going hard at it," said Taylor.

"With the level of players involved it should be a high quality game of cricket and hopefully the crowd gets behind it and we see it become a regular annual fixture."

Black Caps test opener Tom Latham has been named captain of the South Island side, while Henry Nicholls will keep stumps.

Selector Gavin Larsen believes the two sides are evenly matched.

"It's two very strong teams who will both be eager on taking bragging rights," said Larsen.

"It's also a great chance for a number of players to get back into Twenty20 mode ahead of the tournament in India.

"We'll be watching with interest, as it's also a chance for a number of fringe players to push their case for higher honours going forward."

The workloads of a number of Black Caps who featured in the test series against Australia means they will be given the opportunity to rest ahead of the World Twenty20, while Ben Wheeler, Ed Nuttall and Warren Barnes were not considered due to injury.

The February 28 match will be part of a televised double header, with the White Ferns in a transtasman Twenty20 clash against Australia beforehand.

North Island
Ross Taylor (c) (Lower Hutt), Todd Astle (Palmerston North), Doug Bracewell (Tauranga), Anton Devcich (Hamilton), Grant Elliott (Johannesburg, South Africa - First MA Wellington), Mitchell McClenaghan (Hastings), Adam Milne (Palmerston North), Colin Munro (Durban, South Africa - First MA Auckland), James Neesham (Auckland), Luke Ronchi (Dannevirke), Ish Sodhi, (Ludhiana, India - First MA Northern Districts), George Worker (Palmerston North).

South Island
Tom Latham (c) (Christchurch), Dean Brownlie (Perth, Australia - First MA Canterbury), Jacob Duffy (Lumsden), Andrew Ellis (Christchurch), Peter Fulton (Christchurch), Matt Henry (Christchurch), Nathan McCullum (Dunedin), Henry Nicholls (Christchurch), Marty Kain (Nelson), Hamish Rutherford (Dunedin), Nathan Smith (Dunedin), Neil Wagner (Pretoria, South Africa - First MA Otago)

Selection eligibility criteria:
• Island of birth.
• If not born in New Zealand, then the Island associated with the first senior domestic team represented.
• If that team was the Central Stags, then the Island associated with the player's first District Association.