Southee to captain Blackcaps T20 side vs Sri Lanka

Tim Southee will captain the Blackcaps T20 side in next Friday’s one-off match against Sri Lanka, at Eden Park in Auckland.

With regular skipper Kane Williamson resting, Southee will lead the T20 team for the third time in his career.

He’ll have the services of spin bowling all-rounder Mitchell Santner to call on, as the 26-year-old returns to the international fold following knee surgery in March.

Blackcaps Selector Gavin Larsen said it was an exciting stage of the season with so much white-ball cricket in store.

“A T20 International at Eden Park on a Friday night is always a big occasion and one the players will relish,” said Larsen.

“Tim did a really good job leading the side against Pakistan and the West Indies last season and he’s got a nice mix of proven performers and some fresh faces to work with.

“We’re delighted to welcome Mitchell back into the BLACKCAPS environment and he’s shown in his performances for the Knights in the BK Super Smash that he’s ready for international cricket again.”

In-form Canterbury left-hander Henry Nicholls returns to the T20 team, after making his debut in the 2016 ICC World T20 in India.

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With Trent Boult taking a well-earned break, pace-bowler Scott Kuggeleijn has received his maiden T20 call-up, while all-rounder Jimmy Neesham has been selected with Colin de Grandhomme resting.

“It’s nice to have the luxury of freshening-up a few of our key guys following a long tour of the UAE and a fast transition into the home summer,” said Larsen.

“That presents a great opportunity for the likes of Henry, Scott and Jimmy – who have all been performing strongly for their respective teams recently and deserve their chances should they come.”

The Auckland Aces opening pair of Colin Munro and Martin Guptill will team up at the top of the order, while Tim Seifert will continue as the short-form wicket-keeper.

Adam Milne and Corey Anderson weren’t considered for selection as they continue to get back to full fitness, while Todd Astle’s rehabilitation is progressing well and he will likely return for the Canterbury Kings in the near future.

Craig McMillan will coach the side for the one-off match as Gary Stead takes a short break before the India series later this month. (Courtesy News Hub – New Zealand)

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