New Zealand Cricket (NZC) on Tuesday announced a 15-member squad for the ICC T20 World Cup to be held in the UAE and Oman under skipper Kane Williamson, but there was no place for Ross Taylor, Colin de Grandhomme and Finn Allen, even as 34-year-old legspinner, Todd Astle — who has played four T20Is — was picked along with two other spinners — Ish Sodhi and Mitchell Santner.
Mark Chapman, who represented Hong Kong at the T20 World Cup in 2014 and 2016, was also a part of the 15-member squad for the T20 World Cup in October-November.
Pace bowler Adam Milne, who will travel with the squad as a standby, will be called upon only as an injury replacement, NZC said. The same squad will also three T20Is against India later this year.
NZC said the change had been effected to “balance the Black Caps’ workloads over a four month-long period, incorporating tours to Bangladesh, Pakistan, and India, as well as the ICC T20 World Cup in the UAE.”
NZC also said that it will announce the squad for Test squad to tour India in a month’s time. “While the Test squad to tour India will not be announced for another month or so, the Black Caps’ white-ball squads (for the season) will comprise a total of 32 players — including two new to the set-up in all-rounder Cole McConchie, and paceman Ben Sears,” said NZC in a statement.
Tom Latham will captain the side in Bangladesh and Pakistan, and the usual combination of skipper Kane Williamson and coach Gary Stead will resume duties for the T20 World Cup and the Test tour to India.
“Ross Taylor was selected for the three ODIs in Pakistan but, with the brief nature of the one-week series and the length of quarantine protocols, it was mutually agreed he would remain at home to prepare for the Indian Test tour and upcoming home summer,” NZC said.
“The first New Zealand squad will depart for Bangladesh on the August 23 and the players from the Test tour to India will return home and emerge from MIQ (Managed Isolation) just before Christmas,” said NZC.
NZC chief executive David White said changing times demanded changing strategies, with player welfare and support now one of professional sport’s biggest challenges, particularly in the current pandemic environment.
“The need to safeguard the well-being of our players and support staff is now very real, and we’ve endeavoured to do this by carefully managing their workloads over this winter’s massive playing programme,” said White.
He said the decision had the backing of the NZC Board and the New Zealand Cricket Players Association. “I’m satisfied we’ve selected strong squads for all our touring commitments this winter.
“As the BLACKCAPS proved in England earlier this year, we have good depth in the New Zealand game and I’m confident all the squads chosen will acquit themselves well.”
White confirmed that those Black Caps involved in the prematurely suspended IPL21 would be allowed to re-join their franchises, and complete the competition when it re-starts in September.
“It’s a pragmatic approach,” said White. “We’ve always tried to be realistic about the IPL and this particular issue is very much a one-off, caused by a unique set of circumstances.”
New Zealand squad for ICC T20 World Cup and India T20s: Kane Williamson (c), Todd Astle, Trent Boult, Mark Chapman, Devon Conway, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Kyle Jamieson, Daryl Mitchell, Jimmy Neesham, Glenn Phillips, Mitchell Santner, Tim Seifert (wk), Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Adam Milne (injury cover).
New Zealand squad for Bangladesh T20s & Pakistan ODIs: Tom Latham (c) (wk), Finn Allen, Hamish Bennett, Tom Blundell (wk), Doug Bracewell, Colin de Grandhomme, Jacob Duffy, Matt Henry (ODI only), Scott Kuggeleijn, Cole McConchie, Henry Nicholls, Ajaz Patel, Rachin Ravindra, Ben Sears (T20 only), Blair Tickner, Will Young.
New Zealand squad for Pakistan T20s: Tom Latham (c) (wk), Finn Allen, Todd Astle, Hamish Bennett, Tom Blundell (wk), Mark Chapman, Colin de Grandhomme, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Daryl Mitchell, Ajaz Patel, Ish Sodhi, Ben Sears, Blair Tickner, Will Young.
New Zealand fixtures: Bangladesh – Five T20 Internationals
Pakistan – Three ODIs and five T20 Internationals
ICC T20 World Cup – Group 1 (India, Pakistan, Afghanistan + two more teams to be added)
India – Three T20 Internationals and two Tests