Rutherford, Duffy make Black Caps England tour squad

Experienced Otago pair Hamish Rutherford and Jacob Duffy have been named in a 20-strong Black Caps test squad for the upcoming tour of England.

Rutherford, who made the last of his 16 test appearances seven years ago, was called into the squad for the home series against South Africa this season, but was not required.

The 33-year-old left-hander will provide cover at the top of the order.

Duffy’s inclusion is arguably a surprise. The right-arm swing bowler struggled with the red ball this summer.

He took 13 first-class wickets for Otago at an average of 54.84, well below his career output of 210 wickets at 33.37.

Wellington all-rounder Michael Bracewell capped off a strong season with inclusion in the side as well.

The 31-year-old earned his maiden T20I and ODI call-ups during the home summer and impressed in his ODI debut series against the Netherlands.

Canterbury wicket-keeper Cam Fletcher and Central Districts pace bowler Blair Tickner embark on their first test tour.

The initial squad of 20 will be reduced to 15 ahead of the three tests against England in June.

The Black Caps need the extra cover, with up to five players likely to be unavailable for the two warm-up matches due to IPL commitments.

Thirteen of the 15-man squad which won the World Test Championship final against India in England return.

Ross Taylor and BJ Watling, who have both retired, are the only absentees.

Fletcher has been selected as the second wicketkeeper, alongside incumbent Tom Blundell, while Ajaz Patel is the frontline spinner following his successful returns with the ball in England and India last year.

The Black Caps will play limited-overs series in Ireland and Scotland in July and Netherlands in early August, followed by a tour to the West Indies. Those squads will be named closer to the time.

Black Caps coach Gary Stead said it was exciting to be embarking on another important period of cricket.

"Touring England is always a special occasion with the people, the grounds and the history all making for a wonderful experience," he said.

"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."

--  Adrian Seconi


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