Micheal Bracewell earns his maiden call-up; Williamson returns for England Tests
Michael Bracewell picked for England Tests; Williamson returns
Batting allrounder Micheal Bracewell has earned his maiden call-up to New Zealand’s test squad for their upcoming three test tour of England. Meanwhile, regular skipper Kane Williamson who hasn’t played a test since November due to a tendon injury in elbow returns to the squad.
Bracewell selection was based on his impressive performance over the last couple of first class seasons. The 31 year old scored 725 and 190 runs in 2020-21 and 2021-22 first-class seasons. Bracewell, who also bowls off spin, has already represented New Zealand in the One Dayers. Meanwhile, pace bowler Blair Tickner and wicketkeeper-batter, Cam Fletcher, have also been included in the squad. Both Tickner and Fletcher were picked in the Test squad for the series against the Proteas earlier this year. Fletcher, who has been around the domestic circuit since 2013, averaged a tad over 40 in the 2021-22 Plunket Shield. With Tom Blundell also in the squad,chances of Fletcher getting a game are slim. Tickner on the other hand has played only 10 limited overs games for New Zealand.
Hamish Rutherford, who scored a hundred on his Test debut against England back in 2013, has also been picked. He was the third highest run-getter in New Zealand's first-class competition in 2021-22. Pace bowler Jacob Duffy has also made it into the squad. The 27-year-old has featured in four T20Is for his country. Ajaz Patel will lead the spin prowess which also comprises Rachin Ravindra
"It's going to be a busy winter, but one we're looking to embrace as a group," Gary Stead, New Zealand coach, said. "We've seen in recent times the need to be flexible with squads, schedules and staffing - and this winter will be no different. The red ball tour of England first up is clearly high on our priority list and we're looking forward to hitting the ground running over there in a couple of weeks' time.
"Touring England is always a special occasion with the people, the grounds and the history all making for a wonderful experience. The English are always tough in their own conditions and have many talented players they can call on. There's a reason we've only ever won a couple of Test series over there and we know we'll have to be at our very best to do it again. It's an exciting time in particular for Michael and Cam, who will be heading away with the Blackcaps for the first time. They had a taste of the environment this summer and I'm sure they'll be looking forward to the opportunity of touring with the side and all the extra things that entails."
Five of the New Zealand cricketers - Williamson, Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Daryl Mitchell and Devon Conway, who are currently playing in the Indian T20 League, would likely miss out on the warm-up matches at Hove and Chelmsford on May 20 and 26 respectively. The squad will be subsequently reduced to 15 players ahead of the first Test at Lord's. Currently, Will Young and Colin de Grandhomme are playing County cricket in England. Stead said that the New Zealand management will look to prioritise the workload of the players in the backdrop of a busy season ahead of them.
"All going to plan we will have everyone fit and available for the first Test at Lord's, and aim to announce our final squad of 15 for that series once we've completed our warm-up games. Last season I thought we juggled our resources really well to ensure the welfare of our people was prioritised, and we'll be looking to do that again with the white ball cricket in July and August. That means no players or staff will stay with the side for the entire 14 weeks while we're away, as we balance the workloads. The ICC T20 World Cup in Australia is only six months away and we'll continue to also prioritise as much planning and preparation for that as possible," he noted.
New Zealand will play their first Test at Lord's on June 2. The second and third Tests will be played at Trent Bridge and Headingley on June 10 and 23 respectively.
Squad: Kane Williamson (capt), Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Michael Bracewell, Devon Conway, Colin de Grandhomme, Jacob Duffy, Cameron Fletcher, Matt Henry, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Henry Nicholls, Ajaz Patel, Rachin Ravindra, Hamish Rutherford, Tim Southee, Blair Tickner, Neil Wagner, Will Young
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