Tuesday, October 4, 2022

NZC: Bracewell and Cleaver earn first call ups | Taylor prepares for career finale

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Wellington Firebirds all-rounder Michael Bracewell has been named in the BLACKCAPS for the first time, seven months on from having to turn down his maiden call up.

The in-form 31-year-old’s been included in both the T20 and ODI squads for the KFC Netherlands Tour later this month, along with uncapped Central Stags wicket-keeper Dane Cleaver, who’s been picked for the one-off T20 International at Napier’s McLean Park next Friday night, March 25.

Bracewell, the nephew of former Internationals John and Brendon; son of Otago first-class cricketer Mark, and cousin of current BLACKCAP Doug, was originally selected for the New Zealand tour to Bangladesh last September, but elected to decline as he awaited the birth of his first child.

Bracewell (478) and Cleaver (369) topped this season’s Dream11 Men’s Super Smash runs chart and have featured extensively in the New Zealand A and winter programs in recent years.

With 12 BLACKCAPS white-ball regulars unavailable due to the IPL, there’s opportunities for the pace bowling duo of Ben Sears and Scott Kuggeleijn, who have been selected in just the T20I squad alongside Cleaver.

The 24-year-old Sears will be looking to add to his two T20 International caps following his debut in Bangladesh last September, while Kuggeleijn has played 20 games for the BLACKCAPS.

Tom Latham will lead both sides and keep wickets in the three game ODI series, which carries ICC Super League qualifying points and doubles as Ross Taylor’s international career swansong.

Taylor, along with Canterbury batsman Henry Nicholls and Auckland Aces quick Kyle Jamieson have been selected for just the one-day component of the tour, which begins at Mount Maunganui’s Bay Oval on March 29 before heading to Hamilton’s Seddon Park for games two and three on April 2 and 4.

Matt Henry and Blair Tickner cover the other pace bowling spots across the two squads along with all-rounders Colin de Grandhomme and Doug Bracewell.

Martin Guptill, Will Young and Mark Chapman provide the batting for both sides, while Ish Sodhi will be the lead spinner.

BLACKCAPS ODI and T20 squads for KFC Netherland’s Tour

Tom Latham (c) (wk)

Doug Bracewell

Michael Bracewell

Mark Chapman

Dane Cleaver (wk) – T20 only

Colin de Grandhomme

Martin Guptill

Matt Henry

Kyle Jamieson – ODI only

Scott Kuggeleijn – T20 only

Henry Nicholls – ODI only

Ben Sears – T20 only

Ish Sodhi

Ross Taylor – ODI only

Blair Tickner

Will Young

BLACKCAPS coach Gary Stead said the tour was a great opportunity to further test their white-ball depth.

“Anytime you lose 12 front-liners it’s going to be a challenge, but we’re really excited by the players we’ve been able to call on.”

“With another T20 World Cup later this year and the ODI World Cup next year it’s a good time to be offering opportunities to a wider group of players.”

Stead also congratulated Bracewell and Cleaver on their maiden call ups to the BLACKCAPS.

“Both players have been on the national radar for some time and certainly deserve their selection off the back of another quality domestic season.

“Michael is a superb ball striker who can mix touch with his power, while his right arm off-breaks are an asset to any side.

“Dane, along with Cam Fletcher, has been the stand-out wicket-keeper-batsman of the Dream11 Super Smash in recent years. We felt Dane’s consistent weight of runs and the role he can play at the top of the order gave him the slight edge.

“We’ve been pleased with the progress of Ben Sears and I know he’s excited about the prospect of featuring on home soil for the first time.

“Tom Latham will lead both sides as he has done in the past and we know he’ll bring all his usual skill and experience.

“The Netherlands will be highly motivated on their first tour of New Zealand and we know they’ll lean on their Kiwi connections in the team for an edge.

“It’s going to be a fantastic ocassion for the likes of Logan van Beek and Michael Rippon who are well known to New Zealanders. I’m sure those two in particular will be relishing the chance to test themselves against our guys on the international stage.”

Cleaver, Bracewell, Taylor and Sears will all get an early look at the tourists as part of the New Zealand XI side named for two one-day matches at Napier’s McLean Park on March 17 and 19 followed by a one-off T20 on March 21. The three game series will be played behind closed doors, with live-streaming and scoring at nzc.nz.

The four Internationals on the KFC Netherlands Tour of New Zealand will be broadcast live in New Zealand on Spark Sport, Magic Talk Radio and Rova, with scoring at nzc.nz.

The opening KFC T20I on March 25 will be broadcast free-to-air on TV1.

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