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Cricket: Selectors plan for future by picking Patel for one-dayer

Jeetan Patel last joined the Black Caps for their ODI against Bangladesh on New Year's Eve in Nelson. Photo / File
Jeetan Patel last joined the Black Caps for their ODI against Bangladesh on New Year's Eve in Nelson. Photo / File

Jeetan Patel's selection in the expanded 15-man New Zealand squad for the fourth one-day international against South Africa is a means of countering the three left-handers in the visitors' top six, but also forms part of a wider Champions Trophy plan.

The 36-year-old off spinner's brief, if picked, will be to turn the ball away from Quinton de Kock, Jean-Paul Duminy and David Miller on helpful Seddon Park clay if the opening ODI on February 19 was a gauge.

However, familiarity with the Black Caps environment is important. Patel's English county experience could be a factor when New Zealand play what is effectively the International Cricket Council's biennial mini-World Cup in June.

They play their opening Champions Trophy pool game against Australia at Edgbaston, Patel's home ground for seven seasons with Warwickshire. A semifinal could also be played there, as well as matches at Cardiff's Sophia Gardens and a possible final at The Oval in London.

Patel last joined the Black Caps for their ODI against Bangladesh on New Year's Eve in Nelson, taking one for 40.

"The way Jeetan bowled, when it was hard to play across your front pad, created enough dots and indecision," coach Mike Hesson said at the time. "He did exactly as we hoped. You can put him on autopilot and he goes out and does the job. That's a skill you can't overlook.

"We'd potentially keep him in mind for the Champions Trophy [in England] where we will take two spinners and play on surfaces Jeetan's familiar with."

It followed Patel's test recall against India in October after an almost four-year hiatus.

Yesterday Hesson said Patel remained "very much in the frame" for selection in Hamilton, but will be competing against the left-arm orthodox Mitchell Santner and leg spinner Ish Sodhi. Both of their stock balls turn away from right-handers.

Matt Henry drops out of the squad. Yesterday he took four for 54 from 22 overs playing for Canterbury against Wellington in the Plunket Shield at the Basin Reserve.

He is expected to remain as cover for Neil Wagner in the test squad. Wagner recently fractured the ring finger of his bowling hand, but returned to Otago club cricket on Saturday.

"[Wagner] is highly likely to play in the tests [against South Africa] but with seam bowlers there is an attrition rate, so we need options if something happens," Hesson said.

The bulk of South Africa's test squad arrived yesterday. Batting coach Neil McKenzie and a fitness trainer were seconded to help them acclimatise in Auckland.

New Zealand squad for the fourth ODI: Kane Williamson (c), Trent Boult, Neil Broom, Dean Brownlie, Lockie Ferguson, Colin de Grandhomme, Martin Guptill, Tom Latham, James Neesham, Jeetan Patel, Luke Ronchi, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor.

- NZ Herald

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