McCullum and Taylor to return early to prepare for home Tests

Luke Ronchi and Ian Butler called in to BLACKCAPS squad for Sri Lanka tour

BLACKCAPS captain Brendon McCullum and batsman Ross Taylor will return to New Zealand after the current tour of Bangladesh to ensure they have the best preparation for the home Tests against the West Indies.

New Zealand Cricket General Manager National Selection Bruce Edgar says the pair will not go on to Sri Lanka in early November for the three One Day Internationals and two Twenty20s so they can freshen up and prepare for the longer format of the game.

“Ross and Brendon need red ball preparation to be at their best for the summer. Both players are vital to our success and fine tuning their red ball skills before the West Indies series starting in early December is paramount.”

As Taylor and McCullum play all three formats of the game, Edgar stresses it’s important to manage their playing loads especially as we build towards major events like ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.

“This summer we have 37 days of international cricket at home and Brendon and Ross are expected to play all of these, so it’s essential that we manage their workloads.”

The practice of resting players for certain series is used throughout world cricket, most recently with England’s stars - James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Alastair Cook, Ian Bell and Graeme Swann - being left out of the entire home ODI and Twenty20 series against Australia. 

McCullum and Taylor will have the opportunity to prepare for the Tests with Plunket Shield and New Zealand XI matches prior to the first Test on 3 December in Dunedin.

Edgar says the return of Taylor and McCullum, as well as fast bowler Tim Southee who is recovering from ankle surgery, also allows for the development of players that will add to New Zealand’s depth in ODIs and Twenty20s.
 
“It’s important we provide game time to a wider playing group in One Dayers and Twenty20s, and establish a bigger bench of playing experience with the upcoming Twenty20 World Cup in Bangladesh next year and Cricket World Cup 2015 beyond that.”

Wellington Firebirds wicketkeeper/batsman Luke Ronchi and Otago Volts bowler Ian Butler will join the BLACKCAPS squad in Sri Lanka, while Kane Williamson will captain the team in McCullum’s absence.

BLACKCAPS ODI and Twenty20 squad for Sri Lanka tour:

Kane Williamson - Northern Knights (captain)
Corey Anderson - Northern Knights
Ian Butler - Otago Volts
Anton Devcich - Northern Knights
Grant Elliott - Wellington Firebirds
Tom Latham - Canterbury Wizards
Mitchell McClenaghan - Auckland Aces
Nathan McCullum - Otago Volts
Kyle Mills - Auckland Aces
Adam Milne - Central Stags
Colin Munro - Auckland Aces
James Neesham - Otago Volts
Luke Ronchi - Wellington Firebirds
Hamish Rutherford - Otago Volts

BLACKCAPS tour to Sri Lanka schedule:

1st ODI Sunday 10 November Hambantota
2nd ODI Tuesday 12 November Hambantota
3rd ODI Saturday 16 November Dambulla
1st T20 Tuesday 19 November Kandy
2nd T20 Thursday 21 November Kandy

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