Left-arm quick Ben Wheeler, who last played for New Zealand in February 2017 against South Africa, has been recalled into a 15-man squad for New Zealand’s three-match T20I series against Pakistan beginning January 22 in Wellington.
Seth Rance, who was part of the squad for the recent limited overs series against West Indies but missed out on selection for the start of the ODIs against Pakistan, has been named in the squad for the T20Is but will also join the ODI squad for the 5th ODI in Wellington on January 19. The last of Rance’s two ODIs came last May in Ireland against Bangladesh. He enters the ODI squad in place of Trent Boult, who is being rested for that match as well as the first T20I but will be available for the second and third T20Is as New Zealand selectors attempt to employ a squad rotation system to give various players a rest. Tim Southee is another with his availability limited to just the second T20I.
“Ben’s ability to swing the ball makes him a threatening bowler and his batting power and athleticism in the field compliments that nicely,” New Zealand selector Gavin Larsen said. “It will be nice to see more of Ben and Seth while we manage the workloads of Tim and Trent.”
Like Boult, fast bowler Lockie Ferguson will only be available for the second and third matches while being rested for the series opener. Among the squad batsmen, Ross Taylor will be available for the opener in Wellington but has been given a rest for the final two matches of the series.
Tom Bruce retained his spot in the squad to deny Auckland’s Mark Chapman, who has played two ODIs and 19 T20Is for Hong Kong, a maiden callup to the New Zealand squad. Chapman has been in sizzling form in New Zealand’s domestic T20 competition, tied for second in runs with 300 at an average of 37.50 including an innings of 101 off 58 balls three matches ago against Canterbury.
Bruce scored 28 runs in three innings for New Zealand in the three-match series against West Indies. His best score of 59 not out came in his second T20I against Bangladesh last January but he has not crossed fifty in eight innings since. However, Larsen said selectors decided to keep faith in the middle-order incumbents.
“We have three guys who were seriously considered for that specialist batsman spot at number five, however we’ve backed the incumbents who have performed so well of us in recent times,” said Larsen. “Mark has been really impressive for Auckland, but with the form that Tom and Ross have been in we felt they deserved to continue getting opportunities. We’d like to see Mark continue to work on his bowling, which could open up other opportunities for him outside of just that number five spot.”
Chapman’s non-selection for New Zealand means he continues to remain eligible to represent Hong Kong. He has not played for the country of his birth since a loss to Scotland at Nagpur in the opening round of the 2016 World Twenty20 in India, though there remains faint hope in Hong Kong circles that he may make himself available to play for them at the World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe this March.
New Zealand Cricket also announced that players who are not part of the ODI squad for the ongoing series against Pakistan but have been named in the T20I squad – Wheeler, Bruce, Anaru Kitchen, Glenn Phillips and Ish Sodhi – will be available to play in the Super Smash T20 final on January 20 in Hamilton but would be unavailable should the final be postponed to a reserve day.