Wednesday, April 24, 2024

NZC: Michael Bracewell to lead T20I Squad in Pakistan | Tim Robinson wins maiden call-up

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Photo Credit: Indian Premier League

Michael Bracewell is set to captain New Zealand when the BLACKCAPS tour Pakistan for a five match T20I series later this month.

Bracewell, who will skipper the team for the first time, has been side-lined since his most recent international appearance in March last year, firstly with a ruptured Achilles and then with a broken finger.

Since recovering he’s made a spectacular return to cricket, claiming his best first-class figures with the ball in his first match back in the Plunket Shield.

The all-rounder will lead a group that features a core of seasoned T20I players, including seven members of previous T20 World Cup squads, balanced by two players in Wellington’s Tim Robinson and Canterbury’s Will O’Rourke – selected in a BLACKCAPS T20I squad for the first time.

Robinson earns his maiden selection on the back of a standout Dream11 Super Smash campaign, where he finished as the second-highest run scorer in the men’s competition, despite playing only six of the Firebirds’ eleven games due to injury. The highlight was his 139 against the Otago Volts at the Cello Basin Reserve.

O’Rourke’s selection caps a summer that has seen him make his debut across the two other international formats, including the best match return on Test debut for New Zealand: nine for 93 against South Africa.

The 22-year-old also played a key role in the Canterbury Kings push to the Dream11 Super Smash Grand Final, taking 12 wickets at an average of 19.

BLACKCAPS selector Sam Wells said Bracewell had shown commendable patience and dedication in the past year to work his way back from injury.

“Michael has faced a long period on the sideline and it’s exciting to see him back playing cricket again,” said Wells.

“The fact he’s back playing at a high level after an Achilles rupture is testament to his hard work and application.

“He’s a well-respected leader and has captaincy experience for Wellington along with New Zealand A and New Zealand XI teams, which we believe holds him in good stead to lead the group in Pakistan.”

On the potential new caps in the squad, Wells said both had earned their place on performance.

“Tim is still very early in his domestic career but his natural ability and explosive power was on full display this season.

“Combined with his outstanding fielding, we believe he has a skill-set that’s well suited to the format.

“We’ve been delighted with Will’s early efforts in international cricket, in both the formats he’s played so far.

“This tour will be an excellent chance for him to test his skills in foreign conditions.“

BLACKCAPS T20 Squad for Pakistan

Michael Bracewell (c)

Finn Allen

Mark Chapman

Josh Clarkson

Jacob Duffy

Dean Foxcroft

Ben Lister

Cole McConchie

Adam Milne

Jimmy Neesham

Will O’Rourke*

Tim Robinson*

Ben Sears

Tim Seifert (WK)

Ish Sodhi

*Uncapped in the format

Trent Boult, Devon Conway, Lockie Ferguson, Matt Henry, Daryl Mitchell, Glenn Phillips, Rachin Ravindra, Mitch Santner and Kane Williamson were all unavailable due to Indian Premier League commitments.

Will Young was also unavailable for selection as he takes up a winter contract with Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club, as was Tom Latham, who is awaiting the birth of his second child.

Tim Southee, the team’s leading T20 wicket taker since the last T20 World Cup, wasn’t considered for selection to allow him a period of prolonged conditioning following a busy playing schedule across formats.

Colin Munro was also unavailable for selection.

BLACKCAPS coach Gary Stead will lead a support staff group in Pakistan featuring batting coaching Luke Ronchi, and Canterbury’s High Performance Development Coach, Brendon Donkers, as bowling coach.

The coaching group will be assisted by former England international James Foster, who most recently worked with the team in the UK and India.

The playing group and support staff depart for Pakistan next Friday (April 12), with the first match against Pakistan in Rawalpindi on Thursday the 18th of April.


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