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Astle earns call up to Black Caps

Canterbury legspinner Todd Astle is the only new face in the Black Caps side named to take on Sri Lanka next month.


Black Caps cricketCANTERBURY legspinner Todd Astle is the only new face in the Black Caps side named to take on Sri Lanka next month.

He has been named in the 15-strong test lineup for matches in Galle and Colombo, which follows one Twenty20 and five one-day internationals.

While Astle’s overall stats – 127 wickets at 34.79 in 55 first class matches and a batting average of 22.39 – doesn’t sound that exciting, his recent form is much more promising.

He has claimed 68 wickets in 19 matches, and regularly dismisses the country’s best batsmen.

National selection manager Kim Littlejohn told Fairfax NZ Astle’s selection was due to his “consistent performances over a number of seasons”.

He thought Astle had to skill to contribute in all three forms of the game.

His selection is in place of Central District’s Tarun Nethula, who has been sent back to domestic cricket to get more overs under his belt.

Rob  Nicol gets another chance in tests, after he missed his first opportunity by scoring only 28 runs in two tests.

Martin Guptill and Doug Bracewell have been left out of the limited overs squad, the latter to work on “technical issues”.

”As part of the on-going management of player workload we have decided to rest Martin Guptill for the T20 and ODI matches so he can refresh for the upcoming international commitments,” Littlejohn said.

”Doug Bracewell will miss the short-form matches so he can spend some time working on a few minor technical issues with his action. The best approach is to spend time getting things right in domestic four-day cricket ahead of the test series.”

Spinner Roneel Hira and paceman Adam Milne are retained.

”We have been impressed by the development of both players and they offer the side something a bit different,” Littlejohn said.

The limited overs squad features 12 players who featured at New Zealand’s disappointing showing at the T20 World Cup, along with Trent Boult, Andrew Ellis and Tom Latham.

BJ Watling will keep wickets for the limited overs matches while Kruger van Wyk gets the nod for the tests.

”He has spent a lot of time touring but has had limited opportunities to play and we believe it is best for his development if he’s made available for the upcoming Plunket Shield fixtures,” Littlejohn said.

Daniel Vettori was not considered due to an ongoing Achilles injury.


ODI and Twenty20 squad: Ross Taylor (c), Trent Boult, Andrew Ellis, James Franklin, Roneel Hira, Rob Nicol, Tom Latham, Brendon McCullum, Nathan McCullum, Kyle Mills, Adam Milne, Jacob Oram, Tim Southee, BJ Watling, Kane Williamson.

Test squad: Ross Taylor (c), Todd Astle, Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Daniel Flynn, James Franklin, Martin Guptill, Chris Martin, Brendon McCullum, Rob Nicol, Jeetan Patel, Tim Southee, Kruger van Wyk, Neil Wagner, Kane Williamson.