New Zealand’s skipper Kane Williamson has been ruled out of the upcoming five-match T20I series against England due to hip injury. Subsequently, Kiwis veteran fast bowler Tim Southee will hold the captaincy reins in the absence of Williamson.
Southee had also led New Zealand to victory in the three-match T20I series against Sri Lanka in September. Meanwhile, Kane Williamson featured for Northern Districts against Canterbury at Hagley Oval in the opening round of Plunket Shield. However, the decision to rest him was taken after the match as the injury has resurfaced.
“We’ve been monitoring the injury for a while now. It’s the same issue that ruled him out of the final test against Bangladesh back in March,” New Zealand coach Gary Stead.
“It’s disappointing timing for Kane at the start of an exciting Kiwi summer. But we feel it’s the right decision with a busy season ahead.”
Meanwhile, James Neesham who had a successful World Cup has been recalled to the T20I side. Fast bowler Blair Tickner who had made his T20I debut against India has been selected in the squad. Furthermore, Lockie Ferguson will make a comeback after recuperating from a thumb injury. Blackcaps pack leader Trent Boult will replace Ferguson for the last two matches.
Tim Southee will lead.
“If you look at the batsmen there’s plenty of good ball strikers and that explosive hitting is a crucial component in the shortest format,” Stead observed. “Tim will have a variety of bowling options including our spin combination of Ish and Mitch who are both ranked inside the top ten T20 bowlers in the world.
“We obviously have a lot of T20 cricket on the horizon ahead of next year’s World Cup and a tough five-game series against England should be a great start to the summer.”
The first T20I between New Zealand and England will take place at Christchurch on November 1.
New Zealand T20I squad: Tim Southee (C), Trent Boult (for the final two matches), Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson (for the first three matches), Martin Guptill, Scott Kuggeleijn, Daryl Mitchell, Colin Munro, Jimmy Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Tim Seifert, Ish Sodhi, Ross Taylor, Blair Tickner.