Australia in New Zealand 2015-16 February 5, 2016

Henry Nicholls gets maiden Test call-up

ESPNcricinfo staff
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Henry Nicholls averages nearly 40 after playing eight ODIs during the 2015-16 home summer © AFP

Batsman Ross Taylor has been ruled out of New Zealand's team for the first Test against Australia in Wellington due to a slow recovery from the side strain that scratched him from the Chappell-Hadlee ODI series and the preceding ODIs against Pakistan, with the left-hander Henry Nicholls set to come in for his debut.

A back problem also meant that the wicketkeeper BJ Watling is under something of a cloud for the match at Basin Reserve, forcing New Zealand to retain Luke Ronchi as cover in the event of the first-choice gloveman being ruled unfit to play.

Tim Southee is fit and ready for Test duty - he has not played a game in the new year due to a foot injury picked up during the home series against Sri Lanka in December.

Apart from Taylor, the one man missing out from New Zealand's previous Test assignment - the home Tests against Sri Lanka, which New Zealand won 2-0 - is offspinner Mark Craig.

Nicholls has been a consistent performer for the New Zealand ODI team this summer, most recently compiling 61 against Australia in the opening match of the limited-overs series at Eden Park. New Zealand's coach Mike Hesson said Nicholl's selection was part of a squad put together in the expectation of seaming pitches in Wellington and Christchurch.

"Henry has been very impressive the way he has made the step up to international cricket and we're confident of the job he can do for us in the top order," Hesson said. "We've gone for just the one spinner in Mitch [Santner] and that's based around what we expect the pitches to play like at Hagley and the Basin.

"Tim's a leader within our group and our most experienced bowler, so we're excited to have him fit and a part of our pace bowling attack. Matt [Henry] also comes back into the squad after some really strong performances throughout the summer and with Corey's [Anderson] return we now have a number of seam-bowling options to consider.

"It's well documented how good a Test side Australia are and we know it will take some exceptional cricket for us to have a chance of taking out the series. It doesn't get much bigger for all New Zealand fans than a Test Series against Australia."

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  •   Abul Fazal Ibn Mubaraq on February 8, 2016, 10:16 GMT

    Why on earth Ronchi as cover for BJ? Do our state sides play without wicketkeepers? If no, then why not give a young wicketkeeper form any of those sides a go?!! It befuddles me!!!

  •   Abul Fazal Ibn Mubaraq on February 8, 2016, 9:17 GMT

    Why Adam Milne is not there? How long before we see him in whites?? Terrible!

  • SlingshotPace on February 6, 2016, 15:10 GMT

    I am just very excited to see these two teams play a test series against each other, in my opinion they are the top two test teams right now (alongside England) and this should be an amazing contest....New Zealand has greatly improved in the past few years into what's probably their best side ever....

  • Cricinfouser on February 5, 2016, 23:24 GMT

    If Watling is injured I would love to see Latham or Nicholls take the gloves. So sick of Ronchi. This would also allow us to fit in Santner and Anderson, as well as four quicks, giving the side a luxury of bowlers to choose from. Guptill, Latham (wk), KW, Nicholls, Mccullum, Anderson, Santner, Henry, Southee, Wagner, Boult.

  •   Danial Ali Shah on February 5, 2016, 22:04 GMT

    Collin Munro has a fc average of 48 and a strike rate of above 70. That is phenomenal. He deserves a chance in tests. I think that the nz selectors are doing their best to keep him out of the team. It is strange enough that NZ are not letting munro play in odis. I doubt they will have any thought of having him in tests.

  •   N Earl Roberts on February 5, 2016, 21:42 GMT

    O.K so I am no rocket surgeon. I have questions. Of the 12 picked 5 are pace bowlers (Bracewell, Boult, Henry, Southee & Wagner) so what is the point of Corey Anderson? Surely his ability to bat his to come into the equation but internationally speaking, hasn't he struggled for runs let alone struggled to actually play? The absence of Mark Craig is no real surprise given that while he took wicket on the tour of Stralia, he was nothing short of expensive…then what is the issue with Ish Sodi? At one time he was good enough to play test, then only one dayers (and not tests) and now it's only T20's. Yes granted people will say the Sodi is not that good but he was good enough originally. I just don't understand the phobia that NZC has with legspinners, does anyone remember how Tarun Nethula was the next big thing to save NZ spinning stocks? He went on one tour, got hammered and that was that.

  • dredre01 on February 5, 2016, 21:07 GMT

    dont understand people playing down southee selection.. guy has been pretty consistent in the last few years.. producing some timely and important spells.. brace well also bowled very well in the last series.. i think if not for injuries and other issues bracewell would have been cemented in this team by now.. also handy with the bat!!

  • Steven_Scott on February 5, 2016, 18:38 GMT

    @JOHNTHEKIWI: Very well analyzed. Warner has scored runs even on challenging tracks unlike someone like a Steven Smith who looks like a tailender when there is any kind of movement, so I am expecting Davey to come up big. But who else? I am not convinced with Voges performing against good sides under pressure (most of his runs are against West Indies) and selecting him is probably a backward step for us. Hopefully Khawaja can come to the party, as his technique looks better than most others, but beyond that it is a blur. As you said, the kind of wickets dished up for the tour will be key. Flat tracks means it will be 0-0 with Smith scoring doubles but swing in the air/seam movement means NZ have a solid upper hand since they are playing at home.

  • johnthekiwi on February 5, 2016, 17:15 GMT

    @Steven_Scott: Yeah that was a bad call but the way the kiwis packed a sad afterwards with our horrible bowling and then the inability to take advantage of the absence of Starc (let alone the pink ball D/N factor and the rub of the batting time influence) were huge factors as well. As bad as Oz played in the Ashes, and there was just shocking cricket on both sides, they might have won 3-2 with a break here and there and that top 6 was even weaker than what toured the UK previously. I'd love to see some lively green swingers in play but I think Chameera may have caused a bit of a shock earlier this year and so I'm assuming they will be relatively tame late summer decks where the green isn't really indicative of the nature. Warner batted well in the UK and Voges is a wise old head and you would figure others will pop up. I think these tests will be tight, really tight because neither team has 'that guy', fit or in form, who looks capable of ripping through a line up. Can't wait!

  • BlackCapsBestintheWorld on February 5, 2016, 16:57 GMT

    Why oh Why do we have so many great seamers to pick from? Heres my thoughts. We need Southee and Boult. Thats not going to change. Dougie has been bowling really well in the test matches and he also has the temperament to be a solid test batsmen. Wagner proved to be an aggresive wicket taking option against the Lankans, but I dont think he will be picked. Matt Henry......What can I say.... You've bowled so well, but I still don't think you should be picked over Bracewell. Last but not least Ronchi....Why oh why do the selectors keep persisting with you.

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