Neesham, Santner back in T20I squad; Southee to lead
Less than 24 hours after he smashed five sixes in an over on his ODI return, allrounder Jimmy Neesham was recalled in New Zealand's T20I squad for the one-off T20I against Sri Lanka on January 11 in Auckland. The 13-man squad also saw the return of Mitchell Santner, who recently returned to action with impressive performances in the Super Smash competition, New Zealand's domestic T20 tournament.
Tim Southee will lead New Zealand in the T20I, with regular captain Kane Williamson rested. Trent Boult and Colin de Grandhomme have also been rested, leading to a maiden call-up to the squad for Scott Kuggeleijn, along with the recall for Neesham and Henry Nicholls, who recently struck a career-best 162* against Sri Lanka in the Christchurch Test.
"It's nice to have the luxury of freshening-up a few of our key guys following a long tour of the UAE and a fast transition into the home summer," selector Gavin Larsen said. "That presents a great opportunity for the likes of Henry, Scott and Jimmy - who have all been performing strongly for their respective teams recently and deserve their chances should they come.
"Tim did a really good job leading the side against Pakistan and the West Indies last season and he's got a nice mix of proven performers and some fresh faces to work with.
"We're delighted to welcome Mitchell back into the BLACKCAPS environment and he's shown in his performances for the Knights in the BK Super Smash that he's ready for international cricket again."
Santner had been out of action for over nine months because of a knee surgery he underwent in March, and returned to domestic cricket for Northern Knights last month. Neesham last played a T20I against January last year against Bangladesh and had played against the visiting India A side in two 50-over matches last month. He smashed a 13-ball 47* and snaffled three wickets on his return to the ODI side in Mount Maunganui against Sri Lanka on Thursday.
Kuggeleijn, who has played two ODIs, is yet to make his T20I debut and has been among the wickets for Northern Districts in all three formats. Nicholls had also been out of New Zealand's T20I plans after last playing the format in November 2017 in India.
Adam Milne and Corey Anderson weren't considered for selection as they continue to regain full fitness. An NZC release stated Todd Astle's rehabilitation was progressing well and he would return for Canterbury in the "near future".
Batting coach Craig McMillan will coach the side for the T20I, since head coach Gary Stead is taking a short break before the Indian series.
Squad: Tim Southee (capt), Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Scott Kuggeleijn, Colin Munro, Jimmy Neesham, Henry Nicholls, Glenn Phillips, Seth Rance, Mitchell Santner, Tim Seifert, Ish Sodhi, Ross Taylor.