Uncapped Ferguson in NZ squad for Chappell-Hadlee Trophy
Auckland fast bowler Lockie Ferguson has been named in New Zealand's 14-man squad for the three ODIs in Australia next month, following his bright start to the domestic season. Legspinner Todd Astle has also found a place in the squad, displacing Ish Sodhi, who had played in the ODIs in India. Batsman Henry Nicholls makes his way back into the ODI fray as well.
Seam-bowling allrounder Colin de Grandhomme has entered the ODI squad following an impressive Test debut, taking the place of spinning allrounder Anton Devcich. Colin Munro been included in the squad after missing out in India through injury.
Batsman Ross Taylor - who will have eye surgery on Wednesday - was unavailable for selection. Fast bowlers Adam Milne and Mitchell McClenaghan, and allrounders Corey Anderson and George Worker, are all out through injury as well. Wicketkeeper-batsman Luke Ronchi has been left out, with BJ Watling preferred.
Ferguson, 25, has only played eight List A matches in his career, but has claimed 16 wickets at 28.12 in them. It is his recent first-class form that makes for encouraging reading: he has match figures of 5 for 101, 4 for 107 and 6 for 89 in his most recent Plunket Shield games. New Zealand selector Gavin Larsen said Ferguson was effectively a like-for-like replacement for Milne.
"Lockie has bowled with pace, and with Milne not available through a series of injuries, Lockie was the obvious guy to step up," he said. "He bowls consistently in the 140kph range, and clicks over 150 every now and then. There is some real gas to Lockie Ferguson. There's an element of surprise and no batsman likes bowlers who are up at that pace."
De Grandhomme's inclusion is no surprise, as his aggressive style of play had long made him a limited-overs international candidate. His seven wickets and quick runs in the Christchurch Test may merely have sealed his place - especially with Anderson continuing to struggle with a back injury. De Grandhomme's only ODI for New Zealand came in March 2012 against South Africa.
Astle, meanwhile, had had a muted Christchurch Test on a seam-friendly pitch, but had built up some domestic first-class form with hauls of 5 for 36 and 3 for 20 in his two previous matches. Sodhi has also had a good start to his domestic season, but had effectively bowled himself out of the ODI team in India, where he had been expensive. Astle is uncapped in ODIs having played two Tests and two T20Is so far.
"Todd offers us good all-round balance - with the runs he can score lower down the order - but he's primarily been picked as a legspinner," Larsen said. "It's important to add that Ish has been a little a little inconsistent, and he's returning to Northern Districts and is working very hard on his game. Ish does remain very clearly in our plans for the future."
Ronchi's three single-figure scores in India had also seen him exit the squad, though his output has been modest for much longer. In 25 ODI innings since the start of last year's World Cup, Ronchi has hit 254 runs at an average of 11.04.
"Luke remains on our radar, but we felt we wanted to give BJ Watling further ODI experience - Luke knows he was a bit shy of runs across the last year or so," Larsen said. "BJ is a little more classical in his batsmanship. There are a lot of explosive players in the team. If you think about Henry Nicholls and the way that he plays - we think those two complement the overall batting of the team."
The Chappell-Hadlee series begins on December 4 in Sydney, before the action moves to Canberra, then Melbourne.