New Zealand Cricket (NZC) have announced a 13-member squad for their upcoming T20I series against Australia, which starts at a sold-out Hagley Oval on February 22.
The Auckland Aces opener Martin Guptill, who missed the last two games of the Super Smash season due to a hamstring injury, will join the New Zealand squad in Christchurch next week in order to prove his fitness for Australia T20Is.
Waiting in the queue will be Wellington Firebirds breakout star Finn Allen, who has been backed in the 13-man squad as cover for Guptill if the latter is not deemed fit.
Blackcaps selector Gavin Larsen has made it clear that 21-year-old Finn’s performance in the recently-concluded Super Smash (512 runs at a whopping strike rate of 193) had not gone unnoticed.
“Finn’s been in outstanding form and he’s certainly an exciting talent,” Larsen said.
“Martin’s our incumbent opener and our highest T20 International run-scorer so we’re backing him to do the job at the top of the order, but he will need to prove his fitness and it’s good to know we have a ready replacement in Finn on stand-by.”
Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Kyle Jamieson and Hamish Bennett make up the pace-bowling quartet, with Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi as spinners. All-rounder James Neesham has recovered well from his finger injury to be picked in the final thirteen.
Tim Seifert will keep the wickets and open the batting, with Kane Williamson to lead the side and bat at number 3.
New Zealand squad for Australia T20Is:
Kane Williamson (c), Hamish Bennett, Trent Boult, Mark Chapman, Devon Conway, Martin Guptill, Kyle Jamieson, Jimmy Neesham, Glenn Phillips, Mitchell Santner, Tim Seifert, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee.