March 8, 2002

Butler receives Test call-up for first National Bank Series Test

State Northern Knights pace bowler, Ian Butler, continued his meteoric rise in international cricket when he was named today in the CLEAR Black Caps for the first National Bank Series Test against England.

Butler was called into the CLEAR Black Caps just a month ago when injuries made way for his inclusion in the one-day squad for the England series. Now, after two One-Day Internationals, the 20-year-old has received his Test call-up.

The team is:

Stephen Fleming (captain)
Nathan Astle
Ian Butler
Chris Cairns
Chris Drum
Matt Horne
Chris Martin
Craig McMillan
Adam Parore
Mark Richardson
Daniel Vettori
Lou Vincent

Daniel Vettori, Chris Cairns and Craig McMillan all came through fitness assessments to be named in the side.

Missing from the last Test played against Bangladesh in late December are Shane Bond (injured) and Mathew Sinclair.

Chairman of selectors, Sir Richard Hadlee, said Butler had impressed the selectors with his pace and precision in the State Championship.

"Ian Butler is bowling fast and accurately. His One-Day International debut may not have been particularly spectacular from a statistical viewpoint but he has remained unfazed and is incredibly determined to be successful.

"The selectors asked Stephen Fleming to appraise Butler when he faced him in the last State Championship match. Fleming reported that Butler bowled fast and was difficult to deal with and this confirmed the selectors' view that Butler should be given an opportunity at Test level."

Hadlee said Butler took Shane Bond's position from the last Test as the selectors' continued with their philosophy of replacing pace with pace.

Butler will be joined in the bowling attack by Cairns, Chris Drum and Chris Martin.

"Chris Cairns has passed fitness tests which have cleared him to play and he is expected to shoulder a full bowling load.

"Chris Drum has earned his retention in the Test side for his impressive first-class form. He has continued to have consistent success in New Zealand conditions and this is reflected in his State Championship figures this season of 28 wickets at an average of 10.71.

"Over his first-class career Drum has the impressive statistics of 187 wickets at 17.34. Chris has an ability to bowl into or down wind, swings the ball, and is able to produce consistent line and length for long spells," Hadlee said.

Hadlee said the selectors had debated the relative merits of Martin and Daryl Tuffey and had opted in favour of Martin.

"It was a difficult decision but the selectors felt that Martin would be more likely to test the left-handed top-order batsmen of whom England has three," Hadlee said.

In the batting ranks the only change from the last Test against Bangladesh is the return of Nathan Astle, who missed that match with a hand injury. His return means no place for Sinclair as Lou Vincent is retained as the sixth batsman.

"Mathew is unlucky as he has produced a couple of big hundreds in the domestic competition. He continues to apply pressure to all of the six batsmen for a place," Hadlee said.

The side is named for the first Test only in the National Bank Series and will be re-selected for the second Test.

The CLEAR Black Caps assemble in Christchurch on Sunday with the first National Bank Series Test played at Jade Stadium Christchurch from Wednesday, 13 March 2002. Play starts at 10.30am.