Trio return to side for India series

All-rounder Colin de Grandhomme is back in the Black Caps ODI squad. Photo: Getty Images
All-rounder Colin de Grandhomme is back in the Black Caps ODI squad. Photo: Getty Images
The Black Caps have tweaked their line-up before the one-day international series against world No2 India.

Powerful all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme is fresh from a rest and replaces the injured Jimmy Neesham in the side.

First choice one-day keeper Tom Latham, who was also rested for the series against Sri Lanka, returns at the expense of Tim Seifert.

And left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner is back in the one-day unit having recently returned following a serious knee injury.

He will bring a bit more batting depth to the lower middle order but his primary value is assessed by how cheaply he can get through his overs.

Neesham was ruled out because of a recent hamstring injury. He has been asked to prove his fitness in the domestic twenty20 tournament before being considered later in the series.

Had he been considered fit it would have been an interesting decision for the selectors.

The former Otago player arguably moved ahead of de Grandhomme in the pecking order. He was in devastating touch with the bat and bowled reasonably well.

De Grandhomme averages just over 50 with the ball in ODIs and his form with the bat has been patchy recently. He is probably competing for a World Cup slot with Doug Bracewell, who has also been named in the 14-man squad.

Bracewell impressed during the one-off T20 game and deserves an opportunity to see what he can offer in the format.

Corey Anderson remains a wildcard. The talented but injury-prone all-rounder has recently returned to the bowling crease for Northern Districts. But the hard-hitting left-hander was overlooked and may be running out of time to make the World Cup squad.

The Black Caps have stuck with opening bowler Tim Southee despite his horrific recent form. He has taken five wickets in the past 10 ODIs at an average of 99.4.

When questioned about Southee’s poor run, coach Gary Stead backed his strike bowler.

"It is probably easier to put it this way. I think the bowling stocks in New Zealand cricket at the moment is our biggest strength," Stead said.

"When you look at the number of players who are genuine contenders for places then it is a really healthy place to be in.

"Tim has had a long career and has shown his worth to the team in a number of different ways.

"I don’t want to call anyone a lock-in because that is unfair to everyone else. But he is definitely a high contender to be in the World Cup squad."

Stead said the composition of the squad reflected the selectors’ desire to keep their options open before the World Cup and also give themselves the best chance of winning against the Virat Kohli-led side.

"Our two main priorities have been to select and prepare a squad capable of winning what is shaping as a massive series against India, and gathering as much information as possible ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup in England and Wales," Stead said.

"Tom and Colin are experienced players in this format and will offer quality in their respective roles, and Mitch and Doug showed us what they are capable of during the T20 on Friday night."

Stead said, all going well, Neesham and leg-spinner Todd Astle would join the squad for the final two games.

"We were impressed by Jimmy against Sri Lanka, and are keen to see more of Todd who has a different skill set and performed well for us last year.

"It’s just important that, after their respective injuries, we can see them playing again and be confident of bringing them back at this level."


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