New Zealand news January 30, 2016

McCullum comes back for Australia ODIs

ESPNcricinfo staff

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'Important McCullum plays if fit' - Hesson

Brendon McCullum will lead a 13-man New Zealand squad for the home ODI series against Australia beginning February 3 in Auckland. McCullum has been out with a back injury since the second ODI against Sri Lanka on December 28 but is set to return to the side for the third ODI against Pakistan on Sunday. The series against Australia will be McCullum's last in limited-overs internationals.

If McCullum isn't ready by the start of the three-match ODI series, Tom Latham has been named as cover for the New Zealand captain. Coach Mike Hesson is counting on New Zealand's depth to come through in their bid to retain the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy as they continue without the services of Ross Taylor, Tim Southee and Mitchell McClenaghan due to injury.

Southee is expected to recover from his foot in time for the Tests, and has begun training with the New Zealand team. He may also play a Plunket Shield match against Central Stags, from February 5-8. Taylor's recovery is more difficult to predict, Hesson said.

"Ross is making progress. It's a little bit hard to put a time-frame on it. He's still seeing a specialist and making some good progress. We're hopeful for the first Test, but it's certainly not guaranteed at this stage."

New Zealand have had several players affected by injury over the past three weeks, but have won four out of five completed ODIs in their home summer so far. The tour against Australia represents the climax of their season.

"This is a pinnacle event for us and we'll look to get our best side out on the park each time we play," said Hesson. "We've been lucky enough to use a big squad over the summer and although we're missing a few key players, we have guys who can step in and we know are up to the task. The Chappell Hadlee Trophy is something we want to hold on to. The rivalry between these two sides is huge and it's going to be three intense games in front of some big crowds."

New Zealand ODI squad: Brendon McCullum (capt), Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson, Henry Nicholls, Grant Elliott, Corey Anderson, Colin Munro, Luke Ronchi (wk), Mitchell Santner, Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Adam Milne, Matt Henry

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