Bracewell rapt to get captaincy for Pakistan tour

Michael Bracewell. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
Michael Bracewell. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
Otago duo Jacob Duffy and Dean Foxcroft have been named in the New Zealand T20 team to tour Pakistan later this month.

But it is a former Otago player who has stolen the limelight.

Wellington all-rounder Michael Bracewell has been named captain for the five-game T20I series.

He got the call form Black Caps coach Gary Stead last month and it completed a fairy-tale few days for the hard-hitting left-hander.

"I had a golden three days," Bracewell explained.

"I got the eight-for out here at the Basin and then a hole-in-one the next day. And the third thing was the call from Steady about the captaincy, so that was three days I’ll never forget."

That eight-for was against Otago. The offspinner destroyed the Volts with a career-best haul of eight for 41 in a Plunket Shield fixture.

He has certainly had a lot worse weeks. The 33-year-old spent the second half of last year on the sideline, firstly with a ruptured Achilles and then with a broken finger.

But since returning he has made quite a splash at domestic level — mostly at the expense of his former team. He played 55 first-class games for the Volts before moving to Wellington where he eventually turned himself into a quality spinner.

"It is a huge honour to, firstly, be picked again for New Zealand," Bracewell said.

"And another huge honour to be selected as the captain as well. It is something I certainly wasn’t expecting but I’m pretty excited about the prospect."

Bracewell will lead a team missing most of their brightest stars.

Trent Boult, Devon Conway, Lockie Ferguson, Matt Henry, Daryl Mitchell, Glenn Phillips, Rachin Ravindra, Mitch Santner and Kane Williamson were all unavailable due to Indian Premier League commitments.

Will Young and Tom Latham were also unavailable, while Tim Southee is being rested.

Wellington’s Tim Robinson, Canterbury’s Will O’Rourke, Duffy and Foxcroft will help fill the vacancies.

Robinson earns his maiden selection on the back of a standout Super Smash campaign, notable for an extraordinary knock of 139 against Otago Volts.

O’Rourke’s selection caps a summer which has seen him make his debut in the two other formats.

Black Caps selector Sam Wells was looking forward to see what the newcomers will bring.

"Tim is still very early in his domestic career but his natural ability and explosive power was on full display this season," Wells said.

"Combined with his outstanding fielding, we believe he has a skill-set that’s well suited to the format."

Wells added the selectors had been "delighted" with O’Rourke’s efforts in international cricket to date.

"This tour will be an excellent chance for him to test his skills in foreign conditions."

The playing group and support staff depart for Pakistan on April 12. The first match against Pakistan in Rawalpindi is on April 18.

Black Caps T20 squad

for Pakistan 

Michael Bracewell (c), Finn Allen, Mark Chapman, Josh Clarkson, Jacob Duffy, Dean Foxcroft, Ben Lister, Cole McConchie, Adam Milne, Jimmy Neesham, Will O’Rourke*, Tim Robinson*, Ben Sears, Tim Seifert, Ish Sodhi .

*Uncapped in the format