October 5, 2001

Cairns, Nash and Vettori return to Test cricket as Test squad to Australia is named

The New Zealand selection panel of Sir Richard Hadlee (chairman), Ross Dykes, Brian McKechnie and Denis Aberhart today named a squad of 15 players to contest three Tests in Australia during November and December.

There are two changes from the Test squad named last month for the cancelled tour of Pakistan - Jacob Oram is unavailable due to injury and is replaced by Dion Nash, while Chris Cairns returns from injury in place of James Franklin.

The CLEAR Black Caps full squad is:

Stephen Fleming (captain, State Wellington Firebirds)
Nathan Astle (State Canterbury Wizards)
Matthew Bell (State Wellington Firebirds)
Chris Cairns (State Canterbury Wizards)
Chris Martin (State Canterbury Wizards)
Craig McMillan (State Canterbury Wizards)
Dion Nash (State Auckland Aces)
Shayne O'Connor (State Otago Volts)
Adam Parore (State Auckland Aces)
Mark Richardson (State Otago Volts)
Mathew Sinclair (State Central Stags)
Glen Sulzberger (State Central Stags)
Daryl Tuffey (State Northern Knights)
Daniel Vettori (State Northern Knights)
Lou Vincent (State Auckland Aces)

Uncapped Test player Lou Vincent retains his place ahead Matthew Horne; while the second spin-bowling berth is retained by Glen Sulzberger.

Chairman of selectors, Sir Richard Hadlee, said it was good news for New Zealand Cricket that three of its most experienced and talented players were available for what will be an arduous series against the world champion Australian team.

"To compete with Australia, New Zealand needs to field its best players and these three offer a level of experience, maturity, and talent which is difficult to match."

He said there remained fitness issues with both Nash and Cairns. Chris Cairns will travel to Australia in time for the second match of the tour.

"The revised and extended tour allows for a measured lead-in to international cricket. It is an ideal preparation for our players who have gone some months without outdoor play and for those returning from injury.

"Chris Cairns' recovery from surgery is on track and it was great to see him bowling and batting with confidence for the New Zealand Academy earlier this week.

"Chris' return to international cricket has been carefully planned and was timed for the start of the Australian tour which was originally to begin later this month. Due to the cancellation of the Pakistan tour, the Australian series now begins several weeks earlier, however, New Zealand Cricket, in consultation with Chris, has decided to continue his rehabilitation as planned.

"Chris will therefore play a three-day game for the New Zealand Academy against the Australian Academy the week after next and play two weekends of club cricket before joining the CLEAR Black Caps in Australia on 19 October. He will arrive in Canberra in time for the second warm-up match against an ACT XI," Hadlee said.

"Dion Nash has undertaken a very careful and prolonged recovery and rehabilitation programme. He has reached the stage where he needs match play to prove his fitness. The four warm-up matches leading into the first Test will provide Dion with the ideal opportunity to test himself."

"We are giving these senior players returning from injury every opportunity to prove their fitness during the first games of the tour. If there is any doubt over a player's fitness in time for the first Test the selectors will have the option to replace him," Hadlee said.

Nash, Vettori and Cairns all return to Test cricket in this series after lengthy lay-offs with injury.

Nash has completed a 12-month absence from Test cricket although he returned to One-Day International cricket in July for the Coca-Cola Cup tournament in Sri Lanka.

Vettori also returns to Test cricket after a 12-month lay-off. His last Test was similarly against Zimbabwe in September last year. A stress fracture in his back has kept him out of the long game since that time although he returned to One-Day International cricket in February.

Chris Cairns has played no international cricket this year after surgery on his right knee to relieve patella tendonitis. A measured rehabilitation programme is progressing to plan with Cairns playing his first cricket of 2001 for the New Zealand Academy against Otago this week. In the first two-day match he bowled 10 overs and took 2-25. In the second two-day match beginning yesterday he hit 70 runs off 50 balls.

The CLEAR Black Caps assemble at New Zealand Cricket's High Performance Centre at Lincoln University on Thursday 11 October. The team departs for Brisbane on Friday 12 October from Christchurch International Airport.

The first match of the tour is a 4-day game against the Queensland Second XI at Allan Border Field, Brisbane, starting 16 October.

The selectors have also placed seven players on standby. These are: Matthew Horne, Hamish Marshall, Shane Bond, James Franklin, Chris Nevin, Brooke Walker and Paul Wiseman.

Meanwhile New Zealand Cricket also announced today the re-signing of former international cricketer Jeff Crowe as manager of the CLEAR Black Caps. Crowe has managed the side since September 1999. His new contract goes through to two weeks after the conclusion of the Sri Lanka tour in mid-2003.