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Hamish Bennett replaces Adam Milne in New Zealand squad for remaining ODIs against India

Hamish Bennett last played for New Zealand on March 18, 2011 in the ICC World Cup 2011 © Getty Images
Hamish Bennett last played for New Zealand on March 18, 2011, in the ICC World Cup 2011 © Getty Images

Wellington: Jan 21, 2014

Hamish Bennett will replace Adam Milne in the New Zealand squad for the remainder of the One-Day International (ODI) series against India. Fast bowler Milne was ruled out due to a side strain.

Milne was impressive in the first ODI where the New Zealand’s faster bowlers exposed a weakness in the Indian armour as they beat the top one-day team. But the victory was tempered on Tuesday with the loss of their new strike weapon for the rest of the series.

India’s failure to handle short-pitched pace bowling played a large part in their 24-run loss in the opening ODI of the five-match series played in Napier on Sunday.

The New Zealand team’s physiotherapist Paul Close said on Tuesday that Milne required a six-week rehabilitation period for a strained abdominal muscle.

Right-arm medium-fast bowler Bennett, who last played for New Zealand two years ago, was called into the squad for the second ODI in Hamilton on Wednesday.

Milne pounded India with a stream of deliveries in excess of 150 kilometres an hour (93 mph) and claimed the wicket of Suresh Raina who was one of four top-order Indian batsmen to fall to a poorly executed pull shot.

Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and captain MS Dhoni went the same way — failing with the hook shot — as Milne, Mitchell McClenaghan and Tim Southee delivered a barrage of short-pitched deliveries.

But rather than abandon the hook, Dhoni said India needed to be more judicious how they used it because they could not afford to drop it from their repertoire.

“At times we will get caught because it is a difficult shot to play. But most of our batsmen like to play it since this is our strength,” Dhoni said.

“Especially overseas, we need to play and master it because you cannot have bowlers bowl short to you always.

“With two bouncers allowed [per over] you cannot leave all. There are nearly 80 balls with four fast bowlers out of 50 overs. We can always pick and choose when to play and when not to play.”

McClenaghan, whose four for 68 shone out in the win over the world’s top-ranked ODI side, said New Zealand had plans on how to unsettle each Indian batsman.

“We know there’s a few of their guys who like to hook compulsively. It’s about picking and choosing the times that we use it and the grounds we use it on because they all have different dimensions,” McClenaghan said.

“The Indians are good players but at no point will we back away from a fight. We’re not going to be nice. We’re going to get in their face to let them know we intend to stamp our mark in the build-up to the World Cup.”

McClenaghan, who has taken 47 wickets from 19 ODIs, is in line to be the second fastest bowler to reach the 50 milestone.

He can no longer beat the record of 19 matches held by Sri Lankan Ajantha Mendis but the next best is India’s Ajit Agarkar who took 23 ODIs followed by Dennis Lillee (Australia, 24 matches) and Shane Warne (Australia, 25).

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