New Zealand names squad for Champions Trophy

Fast bowlers Adam Milne and Mitchell McClenaghan and all-rounder Corey Anderson have been re-called to the New Zealand one-day cricket squad for the Champions Trophy in England in June.

Hampered by several injuries, Central Districts right-armer Milne and Auckland left-armer McClenaghan have not played for the national side since their loss in the semifinals of the Twenty20 World Cup in India in March last year.

The pair’s last ODI appearances were in February and January of last year, respectively.

Since returning home from the 2015 tour of England with a back injury, Anderson’s international appearances at international level have been as a specialist batsman, including three T20s v Bangladesh in January and the lone T20 against South Africa in February.

But he had returned to the bowling crease for Northern Districts’ last three Plunket Shield matches last month and would be an option with the ball.

New Zealand coach Mike Hesson felt the three players, who had featured to varying degrees in the ongoing Indian Premier League, had done everything possible in a bid to be fit for selection.

“It’s been good to see all three back on the park and bowling; together they add a lot of experience to our squad,” he said in confirming the 15-man squad he had named in conjunction with fellow selector Gavin Larsen.

“Mitch and Adam have been running in well, and Corey has shown he’ll be capable of providing an option with the ball.”

The inclusion of 25-year-old speedster Milne comes after he made a return from hamstring and then elbow issues to play the last three Plunket Shield matches for the Stags last month.

He has played two of the first seven IPL matches for Royal Challengers Bangalore and his place in the squad probably comes at the expense of Auckland counterpart Lockie Ferguson.

Anderson’s return to the bowling crease means there is no place for hard-hitting Aucklander Colin Munro, while batsman Dean Brownlie and leg-spinner Ish Sodhi miss out from those who played in the five-match series against South Africa.

The remainder of the squad was likely largely locked in place, with veteran spinner Jeetan Patel retaining his spot and Hesson confirming opening batsman Tom Latham would be a wicketkeeping option alongside Luke Ronchi.

Hesson said there was strong competition for places across the board and a lot of discussion over the final balance.

“We believe it’s an exciting squad; an experienced squad, and one that has the batting power and the bowling variations to prevail in a potentially high-scoring tournament.

“Having four all-rounders (including Mitchell Santner) certainly helps with balance, and the return Mitch and Adam will offer options with the new ball, through the middle of the innings, and in the death overs.”

New Zealand play four matches in a tri-series with Ireland and Bangladesh in Ireland from May 14-24, with those in the Champions Trophy squad but part of the IPL coming back into the fold as their teams are knocked out of the T20 tournament.

Hesson confirmed a small group of players from the squad for the tri-series in Ireland were likely to remain in England as cover during the Champions Trophy.

New Zealand are then scheduled to play warm-up matches against India on May 28 at The Oval in London and Sri Lanka on May 30 at Edgbaston in Birmingham.

Their opening match of the Champions Trophy is against Australia at Edgbaston on June 2.

New Zealand squad for Champions Trophy: Kane Williamson (c), Corey Anderson, Trent Boult, Neil Broom, Colin de Grandhomme, Martin Guptill, Tom Latham, Mitchell McClenaghan, Adam Milne, Jimmy Neesham, Jeetan Patel, Luke Ronchi, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor.

(Courtesy Stuff)