Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - Fletcher, Tickner earn maiden call-ups to New Zealand Test squad. Tickner has been amongst the top five wicket-takers in the last two seasons of the Plunket Shield.
Tickner has been amongst the top five wicket-takers in the last two seasons of the Plunket Shield.
Cam Fletcher and Blair Tickner have been included in the New Zealand Test squad for the first time while Colin de Grandhomme and Hamish Rutherford were recalled as New Zealand Cricket announced a 15-member squad for the first Test against South Africa. For the 28-year-old Fletcher, it was his maiden call-up to the national team in any format while Tickner has already appeared in eight T20Is for New Zealand.
Tom Latham will continue to captain the side as Kane Williamson is yet to recover from an elbow injury. Trent Boult also won't be available for the first Test as he awaits the birth of his third child while Ajaz Patel, who has been hampered by a left-calf injury, is a possibility for the second Test provided the conditions are in favour of including a spinner, stated NZ's media release.
New Zealand squad for first Test: Tom Latham (c), Tom Blundell (wk), Devon Conway, Colin de Grandhomme, Cam Fletcher (wk), Matt Henry, Kyle Jamieson, Daryl Mitchell, Henry Nicholls, Rachin Ravindra, Hamish Rutherford, Tim Southee, Blair Tickner, Neil Wagner, Will Young.
A consistent performer in the domestic circuit, Tickner has been amongst the top five wicket-takers in the last two seasons of the Plunket Shield. Rutherford returns to the side having last played Test cricket in January 2015. The 32-year-old, who has scored loads of runs in domestic cricket, finished second among the batters in the previous Plunket Shield with 588 runs in eight matches while he has scored over 370 runs in four matches in the ongoing season. Fletcher scored 473 runs last season at an average of 78.83 while he averages 86 in the current Plunket season, having scored 344 runs.
“Injuries and COVID have forced us to be flexible and I'm really excited with the squad picked,” said head coach Gary Stead. “I'd like to congratulate Cam and Blair on making the squad and also acknowledge Hamish and Colin for fighting their way back into the Test set-up. Cam has been excellent across the three formats for Canterbury over the past couple of seasons, producing consistent and often match-winning performances for his team. This will be a great opportunity for him to come into the BLACKCAPS environment and soak up the experience as much as he can.”
“Blair's been a consistent performer in the Plunket Shield over the past few seasons and we felt his pace, bounce and aggression covered our bases should we lose a pace bowler to injury. It's pleasing to see Colin back in the Test side, having proved such an influential member before his foot injury last season. His form of late shows he's clearly benefited from simply getting back on the park consistently, and it's great to have his all-round skills and experience to call on. It's a really exciting time for Hamish to be back in the BLACKCAPS after a long time away, and I know he's absolutely buzzing at the opportunity ahead,” added Stead.
The first Test starts on February 17 while the second game will be played from February 25, with both games set to be played at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch.