Papps called up for ODIs against South Africa
Nathan Astle: the injury woes continue
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Michael Papps has been called into New Zealand's one-day squad for their forthcoming series against South Africa. Papps, a right-hand batsman from Canterbury, has been in superb form in the State Shield this season, and his ability to keep wicket adds some flexibility to the squad.
Papps made an indisputable case for selection by averaging 57.87 in limited-overs matches this season. He comes into the squad in place of Craig Cumming, who struggled in the recent series against Pakistan. And Michael Mason, who made his ODI debut in Pakistan last December, returns in place of Andre Adams.
But as expected, there is no place for Nathan Astle, New Zealand's most prolific one-day batsman, whose participation had been put in doubt after he failed a fitness test ahead of the State Shield final between Canterbury and Central Districts at Christchurch.
Astle had been expected to play in the Shield final, but was diagnosed as having cartilage damage in his right knee, and is likely to opt for immediate surgery, to ensure he is fit for New Zealand's trip to England in May. "I really want to go to England," he said last week. "I want to be completely fit, and the biggest thing for me is to return at 100%. I don't want to hobble through the series against South Africa. I'd rather get everything sorted and then go back."
Astle had to leave New Zealand's tour of India after the Test series in September because of an injury to his left knee. The current problem, on the right side, flared up only last week, and is particularly bad news for New Zealand ahead of a challenging series against a South African side that has just demolished West Indies in both Tests and one-dayers.
New Zealand squad Stephen Fleming (capt), Ian Butler, Chris Cairns, Brendon McCullum (wk), Craig McMillan, Hamish Marshall, Kyle Mills, Jacob Oram, Michael Papps, Scott Styris, Daryl Tuffey, Daniel Vettori, Michael Mason.