Saturday, April 13, 2024

NZC: Boult & Williamson return to T20 squad, Conway & Phillips retain batting spots | Ferguson & Bennett ruled out

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The blazing bats of Glenn Phillips and Devon Conway are once again set to light up the BLACKCAPS T20 top-order in the upcoming three-game series against Pakistan, which starts on Friday night at Eden Park.

The duo were involved in a T20I world-record, third-wicket stand of 181 against the West Indies less than a fortnight ago and have been rewarded with selection in a T20 extended squad – which also features the return of Kane Williamson and Trent Boult.

With the T20 series scheduled to start just three days after the current Test in Wellington, Williamson and Boult along with Tim Southee, Kyle Jamieson and Daryl Mitchell will only be available for the second and third games of the series: in Hamilton on Sunday December 20 and in Napier, Tuesday December 22, respectively.

Auckland Aces speedster Lockie Ferguson was withdrawn from the squad after scans revealed a bones stress injury of his lumbar spine. More details of his expected rehabilitation time will be known once the results of further imaging are available.

Wellington Firebirds paceman Hamish Bennet was also ruled out of the series with an abdominal tear sustained in round three of the Ford Trophy. He’ll target a return to play in the Dream11 Super Smash which gets underway on December 24.

Otago Volts pace bowler Jacob Duffy has earned his first call-up to the BLACKCAPS after impressive performances in domestic cricket and for New Zealand A. The 26-year-old’s been selected for the first game and will assemble with the squad in Auckland on Tuesday December 15.

After having his first game as captain washed out after 2.2 overs, Mitchell Santner will take the skipper’s arm band for the series opener at Eden Park, before taking his first break since leaving for the Caribbean Premier League back in August.

His spinning spot will be backed up by leg-spinning incumbent Ish Sodhi and the recalled Todd Astle, whose last T20I came against Sri Lanka in September last year, when he claimed 3-28 in a losing cause in Pallekele.

Blair Tickner, Mark Chapman and Doug Bracewell are included for game one of the series, before making way for the Test players to return.

Selector Gavin Larsen said this was one of the more challenging squads he’s had to select.

“A combination of form, injuries and the overlapping of series has certainly added some complexity to this announcement,” he conceded.

“I’d like to acknowledge the commitment of the all the players who are having to show a large degree of flexibility and understanding this summer.

“It’s great to have the class of Kane and Trent returning to our T20 side having missed the West Indies series after their starring roles in the IPL in November.

“Kane will return and lead the side for games two and three, but we’ll obviously need to take a wait and see approach in relation to the arrival of his and Sarah’s first child. Mark Chapman’s in the squad for the opening match at Eden Park and is on stand-by for Kane for the remaining games of the series.

“We were thrilled Glenn and Devon were able to take their opportunities so well in the previous series and we’re keen to give them the chance to back that up against a strong Pakistan T20 outfit.

“Their inclusion and the return of Kane means we’ve left out Ross Taylor. This was, as you’d imagine, a very tough decision as Ross has been a consistent performer for us, but unfortunately we just couldn’t find room in the squad for him due to the quality and form of the other batsman.

“It’s a special time for Jacob who’s taken his game to another level this summer and I know he’s excited to join the BLACKCAPS camp for the first time.

“The injury to Lockie is obviously a concern considering what he brings to our bowling attack and we’re awaiting more information around his rehabilitation.

“We’ve got just these three T20 Internationals remaining this year, before what will be a star studded Dream11 Super Smash – where we hope to see all players present their cases for inclusion in the remaining T20I series against Australia and Bangladesh in February and March.”

BLACKCAPS T20 SQUAD GAME 1

Mitchell Santner (c)
Todd Astle
Doug Bracewell
Mark Chapman
Devon Conway
Jacob Duffy
Martin Guptill
Scott Kuggeleijn
Jimmy Neesham
Glenn Phillips
Tim Seifert (wk)
Ish Sodhi
Blair Tickner

BLACKCAPS T20 SQUAD GAMES 2 & 3

Kane Williamson (c)
Todd Astle
Trent Boult
Devon Conway
Martin Guptill
Kyle Jamieson
Scott Kuggeleijn
Daryl Mitchell
Jimmy Neesham
Glenn Phillips
Tim Seifert (wk)
Ish Sodhi
Tim Southee

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