December 13, 2001

CLEAR Black Caps team unchanged for first Test against Bangladesh

The New Zealand selectors have named an unchanged eleven from the last Test against Australia to contest the first National Bank Series Test against Bangladesh in Hamilton.

The only change is the selection of Chris Drum as 12th man in place of Glen Sulzberger who was 12th man at Perth.

The team is:

Stephen Fleming (captain)
Nathan Astle
Shane Bond
Chris Cairns
Chris Martin
Craig McMillan
Adam Parore
Mark Richardson
Mathew Sinclair
Daniel Vettori
Lou Vincent
Chris Drum (12th man)

Chairman of selectors, Sir Richard Hadlee, said the unchanged selection recognised the outstanding team performance against Australia in the side's last outing.

"The side is unchanged from the eleven who played in the final Test against Australia, although the selectors have opted for an extra seam bowler rather than a second spinner as 12th man. This selection rewards the players for an excellent team performance in Perth and provides the team with an opportunity to continue the high standards that they set in Australia.

"Chris Drum is in excellent form. He bowled well in the final match of the Australian tour taking a five wicket bag and has a psychological edge over Bangladesh after claiming 4-32 for Auckland yesterday. We have told Chris that, barring an unexpected injury, he will be 12th man but we know that having him waiting in the wings will keep pressure on the other seamers to perform at the highest levels."

Hadlee said the selection panel had high expectations of the CLEAR Black Caps in this series against Bangladesh.

"We expect the side to win both Test matches against Bangladesh and to win them well. It is important to continue the positive momentum begun in Australia, and to maintain quality play leading into the one-day tri-series in Australia and the following National Bank Series against England.

"It is interesting to note that our Test ranking, after drawing the series in Australia, moved up from seventh to fifth. If we can win this series against Bangladesh and go on to defeat England that ranking could move up to third in the world. This is a huge motivation for the players," Hadlee said.

The decision to carry an additional seam bowler as 12th man was a reflection of the way the selection panel felt the pitch would play.

"The groundstaff have faced challenging conditions in preparing this Test wicket, with a lot of rain in Hamilton over recent days. Ross Dykes (co-selector) inspected the pitch earlier this week and the early indications are that the pitch is likely to retain some moisture, especially early on in the match."

Hadlee said the selection panel were pleased with the pressure being applied from performers in the State Championship competition, and this team is selected for the first Test against Bangladesh only and will be reselected for the Boxing Day Test in Wellington.

"There is no doubt that Mathew Sinclair is under pressure for his place, and the selectors have indicated this to him. However the selection panel has confidence and faith in this player and in New Zealand conditions he averages more than 50 in Tests. This first Test against Bangladesh will provide Mathew with an opportunity to turn his form around."

Hadlee said Dion Nash and Shayne O'Connor had been unavailable for selection due to injury.