The BLACKCAPS have named a spin-friendly squad for the ICC World Twenty20 in Bangladesh starting on 23 March with their opener against England.
Three in the 15-strong squad – Anton Devcich, Roneel Hira and Trent Boult – are in addition to the BLACKCAPS players used in limited overs matches this summer.
The inclusion of spinner Hira, Devcich with his spin bowling option, and Kane Williamson, who didn’t feature in the Twenty20 matches against the West Indies but is a good player of spin as well as a spin bowling option, highlight the selectors focus on the spin-friendly conditions expected in the sub-continent.
BLACKCAPS squad for ICC World Twenty20 in Bangladesh
Brendon McCullum (c) - Otago Volts
Corey Anderson - Northern Knights
Trent Boult - Northern Knights
Anton Devcich - Northern Knights
Martin Guptill - Auckland Aces
Roneel Hira – Canterbury Wizards
Mitchell McClenaghan - Auckland Aces
Nathan McCullum - Otago Volts
Kyle Mills - Auckland Aces
Colin Munro - Auckland Aces
James Neesham - Otago Volts
Luke Ronchi - Wellington Firebirds
Tim Southee - Northern Knights
Ross Taylor - Central Stags
Kane Williamson - Northern Knights
New Zealand Cricket General Manager National Selection Bruce Edgar says spinners will play a major role in the tournament.
“As we saw when the BLACKCAPS toured Bangladesh in October, the pitches will be slow and likely to turn. Consequently we were looking for batsmen who can play spin well as well as some more spin bowling options.
“Anton gives us both top and middle order batting options as well as spin. He performed well on the tour to Bangladesh and the New Zealand A tour to India and Sri Lanka before that.
“And Ronnie is an experienced Twenty20 spin bowler. He’s an excellent fieldsman and he had a very good HRV Twenty20 with Canterbury.”
Edgar adds that Boult would have been used in some of the shorter format matches over the summer if he hadn’t been recovering from a quad strain.
Bowlers Adam Milne (abdominal) and Matt Henry (adductor) were not available for selection due to injury, while Jesse Ryder was not considered because of his recent off-field behaviour.
BLACKCAPS Head Coach Mike Hesson says after a strong summer at home including a 4-0 One Day International series win over world champions India, New Zealand will be a team that others are wary of.
“The goal for us is simply to keep to the same preparation that served us well over the summer and not get ahead of ourselves.”
The squad departs for a pre-tournament camp in Abu Dhabi on 8 March where they’ll play warm-up matches against Worcestershire. Once in Bangladesh, the team will have official tournament warm-up matches against Pakistan (17 March) and Australia (19 March).
New Zealand matches at the ICC World Twenty20 in Bangladesh
23 March v England, Chittagong
24 March v South Africa, Chittagong
29 March v qualifier, Chittagong
1 April v Sri Lanka, Chittagong
Semifinals and finals follow depending on group play results.