Wellington: Experienced Martin Guptill and Trent Boult were on Tuesday dropped from New Zealand’s squad for the home limited overs series against India, beginning here on November 18.
Opener Guptill has been dropped to accommodate rising star Finn Allen while New Zealand Cricket (NZC) decided to give others an opportunity in the six-match series ahead of Boult, who has opted out of a central contract with the board.
Allen is primed to face India for the first time after being confirmed in both New Zealand squads for the series. The 23-year-old Allen has already played 23 T20s and eight ODIs, amassing five half-centuries and a hundred.
In Boult’s absence, Tim Southee, Matt Henry (ODIs only), Lockie Ferguson, Blair Tickner and Adam Milne form the pace attack.
Milne is in line to play his first ODI since 2017, building on his return to the T20 International arena during the recent Tri Series and last year’s T20 World Cup in the UAE.
Head coach Gary Stead said it was never easy leaving out the experience of Boult and Guptill but the team had to keep looking ahead.
“When Trent opted out of his NZC contract in August, we indicated that priority would be given to those players with either central or domestic contracts, and that’s been the case here,” he said in a statement.
“We’re all aware of Trent’s world class ability, but at this time – as we build towards more global events, we want to give opportunities and experiences to others.
“The emergence and success of Finn at the top of the order in white-ball cricket means a guy of the class of Martin Guptill misses out – that’s just the nature of high performance sport.” he added.
For both New Zealand and India, the preparation for the ODI World Cup next year will begin with the series.
“With the 50-over World Cup less than a year away we’re keen to give Finn every opportunity to keep gaining ODI experience, especially against quality opposition such as India.
“The message to both those players (Boult and Guptill) is that there’s a lot of international cricket ahead and the door is certainly not closed to them,” said Stead.
The tour begins with a three-game T20I series across Wellington (Nov 18), Tauranga (Nov 20) and Napier (Nov 22), before moving into the ODI series across Auckland (Nov 25), Hamilton (Nov 27) and Christchurch (Nov 30).
The ODI series could see Southee become the fifth New Zealander to claim 200 ODI wickets, with the 33-year-old’s tally poised on 199.
Tom Latham returns as the ODI wicket-keeper with Devon Conway continuing behind the stumps for the T20 side. Kane Williamson will captain both sides with the T20 squad assembling here on Wednesday.
All-rounder Jimmy Neesham has been excused from the squad for the third ODI as he prepares for his wedding, with Henry Nicholls the replacement for the final match in Christchurch.
Ben Sears (back) and Kyle Jamieson (back) were not considered for selection due to injuries.
Stead said it was always a special time having India in the country and was sure the tour would be an exciting one for players and fans alike.
“There’s always an incredible buzz when India come to town,” he said.
“The energy and noise is incredible and I know the team are really looking forward to getting back and playing in front of some big home crowds.
“India are a world-class side stacked with stars and we know we’ll have to be right at the top of our game.” In the absence of senior players, Hardik Pandya will lead the Indian T20 side and Shikhar Dhawan will captain in ODIs.
T20I squad: Kane Williamson (C), Finn Allen, Michael Bracewell, Devon Conway (WK), Lockie Ferguson, Daryl Mitchell, Adam Milne, Jimmy Neesham, Glenn Phillips, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi, Blair Tickner.
ODI squad: Kane Williamson (C), Finn Allen, Michael Bracewell, Devon Conway, Lockie Ferguson, Daryl Mitchell, Adam Milne, Jimmy Neesham, Glenn Phillips, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Tom Latham (WK), Matt Henry.