ZB

Bracewell bolts into Black Caps test squad

Author
NZ Herald ,
Publish Date
Wed, 4 May 2022, 9:09am
Firebirds' captain Michael Bracewell during day two of a Plunket Shield cricket match between the Wellington Firebirds and Canterbury. (Photo / Photosport.co.nz)
Firebirds' captain Michael Bracewell during day two of a Plunket Shield cricket match between the Wellington Firebirds and Canterbury. (Photo / Photosport.co.nz)

Bracewell bolts into Black Caps test squad

Author
NZ Herald ,
Publish Date
Wed, 4 May 2022, 9:09am

Wellington Firebirds all-rounder Michael Bracewell has capped off an impressive season with inclusion in the Black Caps test squad for the tour of England.

The 31-year-old earned his maiden T20I and One-Day International call-ups this summer and impressed in his ODI debut series against the Netherlands.

The extended 20-player squad will also see Canterbury wicketkeeper Cam Fletcher and Central Stags paceman Blair Tickner embark on their first tour with the Black Caps test squad, following recent call-ups for the home test series against South Africa in Christchurch in February.

With the five Black Caps at the IPL unlikely to be available for the two warm-up matches at Hove (May 20-23) and Chlemsford (May 26-29), the initial squad of 20 will be reduced to 15 ahead of the three tests against England, the first of which begins at Lord's on June 2.

Of the 15 players used in the World Test Championship final squad, 13 will return for this tour to England, with Ross Taylor and BJ Watling having since retired.

Alongside Bracewell, Fletcher and Tickner, the experienced Otago Volts pair of batsman Hamish Rutherford and swing bowler Jacob Duffy have been included, while 22-year-old spinning all-rounder Rachin Ravindra also returns.

Fletcher has been selected as the second wicketkeeper alongside incumbent Tom Blundell, while Ajaz Patel is the front-line spinner following his successful returns with the ball in England and India last year.

Black Caps coach Gary Stead said with five players away at the IPL and a couple more (Will Young at Northamptonshire and Colin de Grandhomme at Surrey) playing county cricket — there would be a need to transition a significant number into the squad ahead of the series.

"All going to plan, we will have everyone fit and available for the first test at Lord's, and aim to announce our final squad of 15 for that series once we've completed our warm-up games," said Stead.

He added that, with such a prolonged schedule away from home, the welfare and well-being of players and staff would again be paramount.

"Last season, I thought we juggled our resources really well to ensure the welfare of our people was prioritised, and we'll be looking to do that again with the white-ball cricket in July and August.

"That means no players or staff will stay with the side for the entire 14 weeks while we're away, as we balance the workloads.

"The T20 World Cup in Australia is only six months away and we'll continue to also prioritise as much planning and preparation for that as possible."

The Black Caps will play series in Ireland (three ODIs and three T20s) and Scotland (one ODI and two T20s) in July and Netherlands (two T20s) in early August, followed straight afterwards by a tour to the West Indies (three ODIs and three T20s), with the final touring squads and coaching groups to be confirmed closer to the time.

Squad to tour England
Kane Williamson (captain, Northern Districts)
Tom Blundell (wicketkeeper, Wellington)
Trent Boult (Northern Districts)
Michael Bracewell (Wellington)
Devon Conway (Wellington)
Colin de Grandhomme
(Northern Districts)
Jacob Duffy (Otago)
Cameron Fletcher (Canterbury)
Matt Henry (Canterbury)
Kyle Jamieson (Auckland)
Tom Latham (Canterbury)
Daryl Mitchell (Canterbury)
Henry Nicholls (Canterbury)
Ajaz Patel (Central Districts)
Rachin Ravindra (Wellington)
Hamish Rutherford (Otago)
Tim Southee (Northern Districts)
Blair Tickner (Central Districts)
Neil Wagner (Northern Districts)
Will Young (Central Districts)