Regular skipper Kane Williamson has been ruled out of the five-match T20I series at home against England following a hip injury. Fast bowler Tim Southee will lead New Zealand in Williamson’s absence. Southee had already led New Zealand to a T20I series win in Sri Lanka in September.
The 29-year-old represented Northern Districts against Canterbury at Hagley Oval in the opening round of the Plunket Shield and the decision to rest him was taken after the game. “We’ve been monitoring the injury for a while now and it’s the same issue that ruled him out of the final test against Bangladesh back in March,” New Zealand coach Gary Stead.
“It’s disappointing timing for Kane at the start of an exciting Kiwi summer, but we feel it’s the right decision with a busy season ahead.”
New Zealand have recalled allrounder Jimmy Neesham for the series following a successful World Cup. Seamer Blair Tickner, who made his international debut in the same format earlier this year against India, has been picked as well. While Lockie Ferguson will make his comeback following a thumb injury, Trent Boult will replace him in the squad for the last two games.
“If you look at the batsmen there’s plenty of good ball strikers and that explosive hitting is a crucial component in the shortest format,” Stead observed. “Tim will have a variety of bowling options including our spin combination of Ish and Mitch who are both ranked inside the top ten T20 bowlers in the world.
“We obviously have a lot of T20 cricket on the horizon ahead of next year’s World Cup and a tough five-game series against England should be a great start to the summer.”
The series kicks off in Christchurch on November 1. The contest will also double up as a fundraiser for the victims of the Christchurch terror attacks in March. The two teams will then play two Tests after the conclusion of the T20I series.
New Zealand T20I squad: Tim Southee (C), Trent Boult (for the final two matches), Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson (for the first three matches), Martin Guptill, Scott Kuggeleijn, Daryl Mitchell, Colin Munro, Jimmy Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Tim Seifert, Ish Sodhi, Ross Taylor, Blair Tickner.