Papps called up for NZ Test squad
Michael Papps's consistent performance in the one-day internationals against South Africa has earned him a berth in New Zealand's squad for the first Test, which starts at Hamilton on March 10. Papps, who made an unbeaten 92 in the last ODI at Napier, has been slotted to open the batting with Mark Richardson.
Also included in the 13-man line-up were Chris Martin and Michael Mason. Martin has had a good run in the domestic matches, while Mason impressed in the two one-dayers he played against South Africa.
Commenting on the squad, John Bracewell, coach and chairman of selectors, said that the competition for places had been strong. "A number of players have put their hands up for selection during the South African one-day series by showing they have both the skill and aptitude to succeed at international level.
"Michael Papps has carried on his strong domestic form and while he is still adjusting to the international arena, has shown the mental toughness needed of from an opening batsman. With Nathan Astle still working his way back to full fitness, from a coaching perspective it's been reassuring to watch Michael developing positively in a position where we have recently struggled."
Bracewell also had a special word of praise for Mason. "In terms of his work ethic and commitment to the team Michael has impressed me. In addition to that he has taken every chance that's come his way and has more than earned his place in the squad."
Commenting on the inclusion of Martin, Bracewell said that the ability to bowl well to left-handers had worked in his favour. "Chris bowls extremely well to left-handed batsmen. This ability brings him right in to the frame against the South Africans who have a number of good left handed batsman in their Test line up."
Stephen Fleming (capt), Mark Richardson, Michael Papps, Scott Styris, Craig McMillan, Chris Cairns, Jacob Oram, Brendon McCullum (wk), Daniel Vettori, Michael Mason, Chris Martin, Daryl Tuffey, Paul Wiseman.