For some in the New Zealand squad who toured Sri Lanka, the
afterglow of victory might be tempered by the fact their
places are under threat for next month's tour to South
The squads for the South African tour will be named next
week, meaning domestically-based players have little time
left to convince selectors of their worth.
It also means incumbents have no time to find some form,
although fast bowler Chris Martin will go virtually from the
plane to the playing field when he plays the last two days of
Auckland's Plunket Shield match against Otago starting on
Martin is vulnerable among the 15 who toured Sri Lanka and
he's not alone.
Others like Rob Nicol, Kruger van Wyk, Todd Astle and James
Franklin will also be nervous about their chances of being
selected to face South Africa for various reasons.
Martin, who at 37 is older than bowling coach Shane Bond, has
long been a staple of the New Zealand test side during the
past few years but was surplus to requirements in Sri Lanka
and it appears the young brigade offer more.
Adam Milne is greener than Central Districts' one-day kit but
has form on his side after a recent five-wicket haul and
decent knock of 97 from No 9 in the Plunket Shield.
Coach Mike Hesson and his selection panel could also summon
Wellington's Mark Gillespie, who ripped through the Proteas
in the home series last summer.
Gillespie might not have many good years left in him but he's
a genuine wicket-taker and could provide a good foil to Tim
Southee, Trent Boult and Doug Bracewell.
Franklin has seemingly been dropped and recalled more than
any player in recent years and doesn't offer enough as a No 6
batsman or seam bowler.
The left-hander has passed 50 only once in his last 21 test
innings dating to 2006. The merry-go-round needs to stop.
Central Districts batsman Carl Cachopa has been in
career-best form in the past 10 months and would be a strong
contender ahead of Franklin given the improvement of his
part-time medium pace bowling.
Nicol was in Sri Lanka only as batting cover and, aside from
bullying Zimbabwe, isn't up to the international level. Nicol
averages seven in his two tests and, if you omit his knocks
against Zimbabwe, his one-day average is 24.2.
BJ Watling makes a strong case to take the gloves instead of
van Wyk and a pair for the latter in the second test in Sri
Lanka came at an awful time given Watling's sparkling form in
the one-dayers, when he made 166 runs in three innings at 83
against the same opponents.
Watling will also take the gloves for Northern Districts in
their four-day fixture against Canterbury that starts on
Peter Fulton's is one name few Black Caps followers expected
to hear after he was discarded from the national side in
2009, but the 33-year-old is averaging 72.5 this summer for
Canterbury and could bat anywhere from opening to No 6.
Leg-spinner Astle could be a victim of the conditions more
than anything as there might not be room in a 15-strong test
squad for two spinners given the rapid South African decks
the side will encounter.
It could also depend on Daniel Vettori's recovery from
injury. If Vettori is fit, he will play - his domestic
comeback has been delayed until December 14. He would
strengthen the batting which could squeeze out either Astle
or Jeetan Patel.