WELLINGTON: Black Caps captain Kane Williamson and several other senior players were on Tuesday excluded from upcoming tours to Bangladesh and Pakistan as New Zealand focus on the Twenty20 World Cup.
New Zealand confirmed their World Cup line-up in an unprecedented 32-man white ball squad to handle a heavy workload over the next four months.
In addition to the World Cup and tours of Bangladesh and Pakistan, New Zealand also have a Test series in India with that squad to be named next month.
New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White said changing times demanded changing strategies, with player welfare and support one of professional sport’s biggest challenges, particularly in the current pandemic environment.
“The need to safeguard the well-being of our players and support staff is now very real, and we’ve endeavoured to do this by carefully managing their workloads over this [year’s] massive playing programme,” White said.
New Zealand players involved in this year’s prematurely suspended Indian Premier League would be allowed to re-join their franchises when it re-starts in September.
“It’s a pragmatic approach. We’ve always tried to be realistic about the IPL and this particular issue is very much a one-off, caused by a unique set of circumstances,” White said.
A separate squad captained by Tom Latham will head to Bangladesh and Pakistan for white-ball tours in September and October prior to the World Cup to manage player workloads amid taxing Covid-19 restrictions.
Ross Taylor was initially selected for the three One-day Internationals in Pakistan but, with the brief nature of the one-week series and the length of quarantine protocols, it was decided he would remain in New Zealand to prepare for the Indian Test tour.
All-rounder Mark Chapman and spin bowler Todd Astle were named in the 15-man Twenty20 World Cup squad, while Finn Allen and Colin de Grandhomme have missed out.
Astle joins fellow leg-spinner Ish Sodhi and left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner for the Oct 17-Nov 14 tournament in the United Arab Emirates and Oman where spin is expected to be important.
Adam Milne will travel with the Williamson-captained squad as a standby for frontline pacemen Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Kyle Jamieson and Lockie Ferguson.
New Zealand play in Group 2 at the World Cup with India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and two qualifiers.
The squad will travel to India for three T20 matches after the World Cup before a two-Test series.
Twenty20 World Cup and India Twenty 20s: Kane Williamson (captain), Todd Astle, Trent Boult, Mark Chapman, Devon Conway, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Kyle Jamieson, Daryl Mitchell, Jimmy Neesham, Glenn Phillips, Mitchell Santner, Tim Seifert, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee.
Bangladesh Twenty20s and Pakistan ODIs: Tom Latham (captain), Finn Allen, Hamish Bennett, Tom Blundell, Doug Bracewell, Colin de Grandhomme, Jacob Duffy, Matt Henry (ODI only), Scott Kuggeleijn, Cole McConchie, Henry Nicholls, Ajaz Patel, Rachin Ravindra, Ben Sears (T20 only), Blair Tickner, Will Young.
Pakistan Twenty20s: Tom Latham (captain), Finn Allen, Todd Astle, Hamish Bennett, Tom Blundell, Mark Chapman, Colin de Grandhomme, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Daryl Mitchell, Ajaz Patel, Ish Sodhi, Ben Sears, Blair Tickner, Will Young.
Published in Dawn, August 11th, 2021