Cricket: Lockie Ferguson the new face in Black Caps ODI squad

By David Leggat

Lockie Ferguson. Photo / Photosport
Lockie Ferguson. Photo / Photosport

The ability to produce serious pace has propelled Auckland quick bowler Lockie Ferguson into New Zealand's ODI squad for the Chappell Hadlee Trophy next month.

Ferguson, 25, is the new face in the New Zealand squad of 14 for the three-match series, and he provides a point of difference in New Zealand's seam bowling group.

Not for him the nuances of seam and swing; Ferguson is about pace, shifting the ball from one end of the pitch to the other by the quickest means.

''He's performed really well for Auckland in the last couple of years," national selector Gavin Larsen said.

''We've certainly had him on our radar. He bowls consistently in the 140s (kmph) and clicks over 150 every now and then so there's real gas to Lockie."

That was Adam Milne's role but the Central Districts speedster has been plagued by injuries, notably elbow and side issues. Ferguson now gets his chance.

In 22 first-class games Ferguson has taken 77 wickets at a blink over 24 runs apiece and in one-dayers 16 in eight games at 28.1.

His name has been mentioned in despatches for the last few weeks as a player whose name could well pop up at some point. Larsen conceded Ferguson had fast-tracked himself with his performances.

There are batting spots for Colin Munro, back from injury and among the runs for Auckland, and Henry Nicholls, the last of whose 10 ODIs was nine months ago, also against Australia in Hamilton.

With Jimmy Neesham, Colin de Grandhomme and Mitchell Santner in, there is no shortage of allrounders, while BJ Watling has usurped Luke Ronchi as preferred ODI wicketkeeper.

Ronchi was short on runs in India recently and indeed since making 33 against England at the Oval in July last year has gone 16 innings with only one innings over 20, and 11 of those in single figures. As it happens, he clouted 119 off 109 balls against Otago in Dunedin yesterday.

Todd Astle is in to provide legspin and some runs late on, taking what was legspinner Ish Sodhi's place. Sodhi played three ODIs in India but seems to have lost his way in that form as well as the test game.

''We just felt he's been a little inconsistent but he remains very clearly in our plans for the future," Larsen said.

The information on Trent Boult's knee niggle is that he should be ready for Australia but the most frustrating news on the announcement is who's not there - among those unavailable is Corey Anderson.

His back is playing up again, having just returned for several months layoff.

It's a recurring nightmare for Anderson and the selectors are back to a wait-and-see situation with him. It's a long summer and they are hoping he will play some part in it.

Even with no Anderson, there is serious explosive hitting power in the squad.

Australia will be ruthless and ''come hard at us" according to Larsen, taking into account the strife they are in at present against Australia.

''They'll be hurting and want to put us away. That adds up to three fantastic ODIs and our guys are ready for that."

The New Zealand squad fly to Sydney next Wednesday.

New Zealand squad for the Chappell Hadlee Trophy next month: Kane Williamson ©, Martin Guptill, Tom Latham, Colin Munro, Henry Nicholls, Jimmy Neesham, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, BJ Watling, Todd Astle, Matt Henry, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Lockie Ferguson.

* Five players -- Ross Taylor, Adam Milne, Mitchell McClenaghan, George Worker and Corey Anderson -- were unavailable for selection on fitness grounds.
* New Zealand will play Australia in Sydney on December 4, in Canberra two days later and finish in Melbourne on December 9.
* New Zealand hold the Chappell Hadlee Trophy after their 2-1 series win in New Zealand last ummer.

- NZ Herald

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