Taylor to lead BLACKCAPS in Sri Lanka

The following players have been selected to travel to Sri Lanka and contest the Tri-Nations series against Sri Lanka and India in August.  Teams will play each other in two ODIs with the final being contested by the top two qualifiers. 

Ross TAYLOR (captain)
Grant ELLIOTT
Martin GUPTILL
Gareth HOPKINS
Nathan MCCULLUM (N)
Andy MCKAY
Kyle MILLS (vice-captain)
Jacob ORAM
Jeetan PATEL
Jesse RYDER
Tim SOUTHEE
Scott STYRIS
Daryl TUFFEY
B.J. WATLING
Kane WILLIAMSON

Selectors’ spokesman Mark Greatbatch said the team features a new captain, vice-captain and the return of Grant Elliott and Jesse Ryder from injury.

“Daniel Vettori will not be going to Sri Lanka as the tour coincides with the birth of his second child and New Zealand Cricket (NZC) supports his wishes to spend time with his family,” Greatbatch said today.

“He will also use this period to continue with his conditioning programme in preparation for the rigorous international schedule ahead. Ross Taylor will captain the team in Daniel’s absence and Kyle Mills will be vice-captain of the team to Sri Lanka.

“Brendon McCullum is also not travelling to Sri Lanka.  He has played over 200 consecutive games for New Zealand and with a significant schedule ahead that culminates with a World Cup early next year, NZC believes it appropriate that McCullum spends the time reconditioning in New Zealand. He is also expecting the birth of his second child in July.

“Grant Elliott comes back after a lengthy period out of the game.  He was a key member of our ODI team prior to his injury, and it is great to have him back.  Jesse Ryder is also returning to the team having sustained an elbow injury during the World T20 in the West Indies.”  

“Kane Williamson gets his first tour with the BLACKCAPS based on his excellent domestic First-Class one-day form.  Jeetan Patel also returns to the side as a replacement for Dan Vettori.  The sub-continent pitches and should really suit his bowling.”

“With Daniel not touring Sri Lanka, it provides an opportunity for Ross to further develop his captaincy skills. Ross was vice-captain for a portion of last season and did a great job leading the BLACKCAPS to victory against Australia in Napier earlier in the year when Daniel was injured”. 

Taylor said being asked to lead his country was a real honour. “It was a pretty special feeling when the selectors approached me. While I appreciate it will be a tough tour against quality opposition, it represents a good opportunity for players to experience sub-continent conditions, particularly with the  World Cup on the horizon.”

General Manager of Cricket for New Zealand Cricket, Geoff Allott, said the selections of both touring teams have been made with an eye to next year’s World Cup in Asia, which is less than 9 months away. 

“The BLACKCAPS touring schedule over the coming months is particularly full.  Next month’s tri-series against Sri Lanka and India, in Sri Lanka is followed by back-to-back series against Bangladesh and India, both away. These tours give us fantastic exposure to the conditions we are going to face in the World Cup early next year.”

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