McClenaghan, Milne and Anderson return for Champions Trophy
Fast bowlers Mitchell McClenaghan and Adam Milne, and allrounder Corey Anderson have been recalled to New Zealand's ODI squad for the 2017 Champions Trophy, after proving their fitness in the ongoing Indian Premier League.
Milne has played two matches for Royal Challengers Bangalore in IPL 2017 so far, bowling his full quota of overs with returns of three wickets at an economy rate of 8.75. McClenaghan, who impressed with Mumbai Indians last season, has turned in another good performance, bowling 28 overs and taking 12 wickets at an economy rate of 8.67. Anderson, playing for Delhi Daredevils, has continued to take on bowling responsibilities - he has bowled a total of four overs across two innings so far, continuing his short bowling stints with Northern Districts in Plunket Shield matches this season.
New Zealand's squad comprises five specialist batsmen, four pace bowlers, three seam-bowling allrounders, two spinners and one specialist wicketkeeper in Luke Ronchi, with Tom Latham as a back-up option behind the stumps.
New Zealand coach Mike Hesson said the three players returning from injury had done everything possible in a bid to be fit for selection.
"It's been good to see all three back on the park and bowling; together they add a lot of experience to our squad," Hesson said. "Mitch and Adam have been running in well, and Corey has shown he'll be capable of providing an option with the ball.
"We believe it's an exciting squad; an experienced squad, and one that has the batting power and the bowling variations to prevail in a potentially high-scoring tournament.
"Having four all-rounders (including Mitchell Santner) certainly helps with balance, and the return of Mitch and Adam will offer options with the new ball, through the middle of the innings, and in the death overs."
Beset by injuries, both McClenaghan and Milne have not played international cricket since the World T20 in India last year. Hamstring, side and elbow injuries meant that Milne played only one more match in 2016 - an IPL game for Royal Challengers - after the World T20, before making a return to competitive cricket in the Plunket Shield first-class tournament in March.
McClenaghan's last ODI appearance came against Pakistan in January 2016, before an eye injury ruled him out of the subsequent one-day series against Australia. McClenaghan returned to play in the World T20, and impressed in IPL 2016 with 17 wickets in 14 matches. A pelvis injury, picked up during a county stint, ruled him out of the India tour in October last year, and an ankle niggle kept him out of New Zealand's international assignments this year.
McClenaghan later reacted to the news on Twitter with a Terminator-like response writing "nice to be back".
Nice to be back pic.twitter.com/80vyVLX10U— Mitchell McClenaghan (@Mitch_Savage) April 24, 2017
In Anderson's case, the New Zealand selectors and Hesson were happy with his return to bowling duties. The recurrence of a back injury during the World T20 had kept Anderson out of tours of Zimbabwe and South Africa last year and he was picked for the ODIs against India as a specialist batsman. He played four of the five matches in India and also bowled four overs in the fifth ODI in Visakhapatnam. However, with the selectors considering him a specialist batsman in view of his long-term injury issues, Anderson missed New Zealand's subsequent ODI series against Australia, Bangladesh and South Africa. He was considered for T20 internationals, playing the home series against Bangladesh and South Africa.
The three players have replaced Dean Brownlie, Lockie Ferguson and Matt Henry from the squad for the home series against South Africa earlier this year. The only other change was the inclusion of offspinner Jeetan Patel in place of legspinner Ish Sodhi.
New Zealand are in Group A of the Champions Trophy and will play their first match, against Australia, on June 2, with matches against England and Bangladesh on June 6 and 9 respectively. Prior to the tournament, they are scheduled to play two warm-up matches - against India on May 28 and Sri Lanka on May 30.
New Zealand will play an ODI tri-series in Ireland ahead of the ICC Champions Trophy and Hesson confirmed a small group of players from that squad were likely to remain in England as cover during the tournament.