Bennett 'stunned' at New Zealand call-up
The Canterbury fast bowler Hamish Bennett has said he was stunned by his call-up to New Zealand's ODI squad for their upcoming tour of Bangladesh. Bennett is in line for an international debut after making the 15-man group, which does not include Martin Guptill or the injured Scott Styris from the squad for the recent tri-nations series in Sri Lanka.
Bennett, 23, has been a steady if not spectacular domestic performer, with 24 one-day wickets at 37.29. The coach Mark Greatbatch said he had a "solid" New Zealand A tour of Australia during the winter, but Bennett did not take a wicket in any of his two one-day games and two Twenty20s during that tournament.
"I was pretty stunned," Bennett told NZPA of his ODI selection. "Mark Greatbatch texted me and told me to ring him and I thought it was going to be about the New Zealand A tour to Zimbabwe. After chatting away for about 10 minutes he asked me if I wanted to go to Bangladesh. You're not going to say no to that, are you?"
Despite his lack of success in Australia this winter, Bennett has been part of the New Zealand Emerging Players side for the past four years. A hit-the-deck style of bowler, Bennett is the only uncapped player in the squad that will play five ODIs in Bangladesh next month.
"I've been lucky enough to have been on a lot of those winter trips for New Zealand teams and I think this selection is showing they are starting to pay off," Bennett said. "My fitness is good, I've been training in Canterbury and doing weights and running and I'm raring to go."
If Bennett's inclusion was a surprise, so too was the axing of Guptill, who seemed to have firmly established himself in New Zealand's ODI team. Instead, Guptill will be heading to Zimbabwe to play for New Zealand A, and Greatbatch does not expect him to be out of the senior team for long.
"He's a competitive guy, Martin," Greatbatch said. "It might be a good tour for him to relax on, but work hard, get the mind right, score some runs, and get back in the team. He's a young player, and a very good one. We've got plans with him involved it's just a matter of him getting some form back."