The release this week begged a question: has New Zealand Cricket ever produced a selection document with as many players named to various teams at the same time?

In one hit, test, ODI and T20 squads were named to play Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates in October-November. NZC are waiting on the Pakistan board to release the detailed schedule but it's expected to be three matches in each of the three forms.

In addition, a New Zealand A squad was revealed to go to the UAE shortly beforehand for a series of matches as part of an enhanced A programme and from which a couple will be added to the ODI and T20 squads.


The grand total of names was 33. If you are a New Zealand first-class or List A player and aren't in there, it could be time to take up tennis, unless you're Jimmy Neesham, whose absence is less related to talent than attitude.

Only five players are in all three senior groups - captain Kane Williamson, senior batsman Ross Taylor, allrounder Colin de Grandhomme, legspinner Ish Sodhi and seamer Tim Southee.

Of the various squads, the most interest lies in the A group, who are off in early October for three 50-over matches, three T20s and two first-class matches against Pakistan A.

Sure, seeing left arm spinner Ajaz Patel, the Domestic Player of the Year, given a chance in the test squad, after sustained high quality form for Central Districts over three seasons, is pleasing. He's also in the A squad.

With legspinners Todd Astle and Sodhi in the test group, it gives New Zealand three spin options. But when Mitchell Santner returns from his long term injury, Patel will likely slip back a notch. Still, he has an opportunity.

But it is in the A team where there will be the odd 'Who He?' eyebrow furrowed.

Four are first-time picks.

Take fast-medium pair Blair Tickner of Central Districts and Canterbury's transplanted Auckland beanpole Kyle Jamieson.


In different ways, they have caught the eye. Tickner's prowess in the shortest form - 35 wickets in 19 games at 16.6, with 21 last season in CD's push to the final - didn't go unnoticed; Jamieson's height makes him an interesting proposition in a Bruce Reid sense.

The other player getting a leg up is young Wellingtonian Rachin Ravindra, one of the better players in last season's U19 World Cup squad.

There is a leavening of experience in the 19 players, who will come and go as the different formats roll around. So test pair Neil Wagner and BJ Watling, for example, are only in for the second first-class game, and the one-dayers and opening first-class game respectively.

But the confirmation of which new players are of significant interest to the national selectors is invariably a keen talking point. Why him and not them?

Will Tickner, Jamieson, Ravindra and Patel advance their cause in the UAE? Will they take the eye of the new coach in a favourable, or unfavourable way? All this and so much more to come.