NEW ZEALAND NAMES THREE SPINNERS
New Zealand has named a three-pronged spin force in its 15-man squad for the ICC World Twenty20 India 2016 to be held in March-April.
The squad, named on Monday (February 1) and to be led by Kane Williamson, includes Nathan McCullum, the experienced offspinner, Mitchell Santner, the left-arm spinner who is also a hard-hitting batsman, and Ish Sodhi, the legspinner.
McCullum, Tim Southee, the veteran paceman, and Ross Taylor, the former skipper, are all nursing injuries but are expected to be fit in time for the tournament. Henry Nicholls, who impressed in the recent One-Day International series against Pakistan, is in line to make his T20I debut as well and will also provide cover for Luke Ronchi, the specialist wicketkeeper.
The need to have a well balanced squad for the conditions was imperative, coach Mike Hesson said. “Henry has shown his talent and versatility with the bat this summer and has also been used as a wicketkeeper for New Zealand A,” he said. “With the Indian conditions in mind, the plan has always been to take three frontline spinners and all three bring something different.”
McCullum has missed all international cricket in the home summer thus far, but Hesson welcomed his addition to the squad. “It’s great to have Nathan available again and his experience in the foreign conditions will be invaluable,” the coach remarked. “Both he and Mitch Santner have the ability to bowl in the first six overs, which gives Kane a number of options to work with.”
Alongside Southee, Trent Boult, Adam Milne and Mitchell McClenaghan — currently recovering from injury after being struck above his left eye by Anwar Ali, the Pakistani paceman — form the specialist pace bowling unit. But there is plenty of depth in that department too in the form of the trio of all-rounders in Corey Anderson, Grant Elliott and Colin Munro, who last month made the fastest T20I fifty by a Kiwi, off 14 deliveries.
“On top of our four genuine pace bowlers and Corey as allrounder, Colin and Grant are also options with the ball for us with their change of pace,” Hesson added. “We understand that with three subcontinent sides and Australia in our pool, we’re going to have to play some very good cricket to progress into the semifinals.”
Despite the unavailability of Brendon McCullum, who will retire from international cricket later this month, there is plenty if explosive firepower in the batting, headlined by Martin Guptill and Williamson himself, apart from Munro, Taylor, Elliott and Anderson.
New Zealand is clubbed alongside India, Australia, Pakistan and a qualifier to be decided following the preliminary stage of the competition, and will begin its campaign against the host nation in Nagpur on March 15. The squad will head to Dubai on March 3 as part of its preparations, before flying over to India for the warm-up matches leading into the ICC World T20 2016 India.
The squad: Kane Williamson (capt), Corey Anderson, Trent Boult, Grant Elliott, Martin Guptill, Adam Milne, Mitchell McClenaghan, Colin Munro, Nathan McCullum, Henry Nicholls, Luke Ronchi (wk), Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor.