Rutherford strikes top form in England

Hamish Rutherford
Hamish Rutherford
The Black Caps have a super sub waiting in the wings should injury strike one of the top-order batsmen before the World Cup.

Otago's Hamish Rutherford has been in a rich vein of form for Worcestershire.

The left-hander has scored two centuries in five one-dayers and also posted a ton in his first-class debut for the side - that is a total 440 runs in about two weeks at an average of 73.33.

The dashing strokemaker played four one-day internationals for New Zealand in 2013 with little success. He really struggled against short-pitched bowling.

But his game has moved on in the past six years. He is much better equipped against that length now and would be a decent option should the likes of Martin Guptill or Colin Munro pull up lame.

He is probably behind Central Districts batsman Will Young in the pecking order. But his form will not have gone unnoticed and his provincial coach Rob Walter believes he is in the best touch he has been in for the past three years.

''This season his batting looked as good as I've seen,'' Walter said.

''He has certainly refined his game and became very clear as to the areas he wanted to play.

''I don't think he is necessarily playing the pull a hell of a lot more but he is scoring off the shorter pitched deliveries and finding a way to get runs off them.

''His form in England is testament to that. You don't score three hundreds in six knocks by chance.

''I think he is as good a batter, from a batsmanship point of view, as we have in the country, in my opinion.''

Rutherford was named in an New Zealand XI which will play an Australian XI in three games in Brisbane on May 6, May 8 and May 10.

''These three games against Australia will be the best test of where his game actually is.

''I'm looking forward to it for his sake. He couldn't step in to those games with better form.''

Auckland off-spinner Will Somerville and Central Districts pace bowler Seth Rance have been added to the squad. Their addition expands the touring team to 15 players.

Somerville made a starring debut for the Black Caps in their series-clinching third test against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi late last year, while Rance has played twenty20s and ODIs for New Zealand.

The squad departs for Australia tomorrow.


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