Cricket: Mitchell McClenaghan's set to shine

By David Leggat

Mitchell McClenaghan taken 12 wickets for Mumbai, being easily their most successful bowler and the second-best wicket taker in the IPL. Photo / AP
Mitchell McClenaghan taken 12 wickets for Mumbai, being easily their most successful bowler and the second-best wicket taker in the IPL. Photo / AP

He's fit, in form and Mitchell McClenaghan shapes as potentially a key figure in New Zealand's campaign for the Champions Trophy in England in June.

The big Auckland left armer is making a significant impact for Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League and New Zealand will be hoping he retains his knack for wicket taking when the 50-over Champions Trophy tournament starts for them on June 2.

McClenaghan and the slippery Adam Milne are back among a four-pronged frontline fast-medium bowling attack but while the senior pair, Trent Boult and Tim Southee, tend to do their best work at the front of opposition innings', McClenaghan's versatility makes him a distinctly useful asset at any point of an innings.

"He's able to bowl equally with the new ball or first change, he's probably our best death bowler, has been our most consistent in the back end of overs and offers an attacking option through the middle on flat surfaces," enthused New Zealand coach Mike Hesson yesterday.

Neither McClenaghan nor Milne were seen in the home international summer due to injuries.

McClenaghan hasn't played an ODI since January last year, after copping a nasty blow above an eye against Pakistan in Wellington. He was at the world T20 in March but an ankle injury proved a further setback.

He's taken 12 wickets for table-topping Mumbai, being easily their most successful bowler and second best wicket taker in the IPL.

In 48 ODIs, he's taken an impressive 82 wickets at 28.2.

Milne, another beset by injury woes, was last sighted for New Zealand at the world T20 but made a return at the fag end of the Plunket Shield for Central Districts. He's at the Royal Challengers Bangalore, where he's taken three wickets in two appearances. He's a good athlete and distinctly sharp.

Veteran Neil Broom got what would have been the last specialist batsman's job, while Tom Latham and Luke Ronchi are expected to be duelling for one opening job. Hesson is keen on the gloveman going in at the top for the sake of balance and getting at least two of the three seam-bowling allrounders - Corey Anderson, Jimmy Neesham and Colin de Grandhomme - into the XI.

- NZ Herald

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