New Zealand Cricket (NZC) selectors on Monday (January 1) has announced the 13-member squad for the first two One-day internationals of the five-match series, as opening batsman Martin Guptill is bound to replace George Worker to face Sarfraz Ahmed-led Pakistan.
“Martin [Guptill] is a proven world-class player, so we’re naturally thrilled to have him back in the mix. He and Colin (Munro) have been strong for us at the top of the order,” animated NZC selector Gavin Larsen said in a statement.
The 31-year-old right-handed batsman Guptill suffered the hamstring injury which further saw him making the return in the ODI fold under the leadership of Kane Williamson.
On the other side, Worker was the omitted from the side while setting the horizon on the 2019 World Cup which somewhat turned out to be a harshest of the calls.
However, Larsen asserted it is sad to leave out the promising Worker while adding such cards are tend to knock the selectors’ door.
“It’s tough on George missing out, but he’ll continue to push for selection and will get further opportunities down the road,” Larsen maintained.
Interestingly, the 28-left-handed batsman Worker featured in all three ODIs in December (2017) which saw him registering fifties in first two ODIs.
Moreover, the prominent spinner in the form of left-arm orthodox bowler Mitchell Santer was retained for the 50-over fixtures alongside young Tod Astle.
Larsen has further hailed Santer for keeping things under control in the limited-overs cricket while reiterating the management is looking forward to seeing the latter delivering according to the expectations in the backyard.
“Mitchell has been one of our most consistent white-ball bowlers for a long time now, as can be seen by him being ranked in the top 10 ODI bowlers in the world,” Larsen added.
The 31-year-old Astle, who made his ODI debut recently against Windies and is seen as an important figure in the line-up as Larsen believes the former is capable of delivering well for the Kiwis while batting and bowling respectively.
“Todd made the most of his opportunity against the West Indies and made a strong contribution with both bat and ball,” Larsen said.
Earlier, Guptill missed the ODI series against Windies which saw hosts eventually winning the series 3-0, before the explosive batsman regained the fitness – to feature in the first Twenty20 at Nelson, as the second T20I is underway at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui.
The limited-overs series will kick off with the first ODI on January 6 (Saturday) at Basin Reserve in Wellington.
The series is also comprised of three Twenty20 Internationals which has been slated for January 22 and January 25 respectively, as the bilateral campaign will culminate with the final T20I on January 28 at Bay Oval in Maunganui.
Here’s the list of13-man squad for first two ODIs against Pakistan: Kane Williamson (skipper), Martin Guptill, Todd Astle, Ross Taylor, Lockie Ferguson, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Colin Munro, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell.
New Zealand is hosting the Under-19 World Cup from January 13 read out the fixtures below: