India in New Zealand 2013-14 January 26, 2014

NZ name unchanged squad for Tests

ESPNcricinfo staff

New Zealand have named an unchanged squad for the two Tests against India from the one that beat West Indies 2-0 in December. The selectors, also announced that Jesse Ryder will travel with the squad as back-up for Ross Taylor, whose second child is due during the Test series.

The two-Test series against India starts February 6 at Eden Park, Auckland, followed by the second Test in Wellington from February 14.

There was no place in the squad for Martin Guptill who last played a Test against England in May 2013 before picking up an injury on New Zealand's tour to Bangladesh. The batsman scored big runs on the domestic first-class circuit before making a comeback in the ODIs against West Indies. Mike Hesson, the New Zealand coach, said the selectors had discussed Guptill and Tom Latham, before backing the current opening pair of Hamish Rutherford and Peter Fulton. Rutherford and Fulton will prepare for the Test series by playing the two-day warm-up game for New Zealand XI against the Indians on February 2 and 3 in Whangarei.

"Martin was discussed along with Tom Latham who is also pressing his claims at the top of the order. We are showing some faith in both Hamish and Peter," Hesson said. "I think we all know what Peter did last time he was at Eden Park (scored against England). Hamish showed some really good qualities in Hamilton to get us through that last Test win (against West Indies). It is a hard side to make at the moment."

Hesson brushed aside Fulton's dip in form and said it was not unusual for an opening batsman. Fulton made a comeback to the Test squad in March 2013 and scored 347 runs in the three Tests at home against England, including a hundred in each innings in the third Test at Eden Park. Since that series, however, the opening batsman has made just 273 runs in seven Tests at an average of 22.75 with three fifties.

"He played really nicely in Dunedin [against West Indies] for us," Hesson said. "He had two Tests after that where he did not score. That is the lot of an opening batsman. Occasionally he can miss out but he has also played some very valuable innings for us."

Hesson said the settled batting order did not allow for Ryder's selection but the batsman could play if Taylor was unavailable.

"[Ryder] is playing really nicely," Hesson said. "[Batsmen at] Three, four, five had a good last series so there is no spot for him there. But if Ross is unavailable for one of the Tests, then I know Jesse would do a very good job."

The New Zealand coach also backed young legspinner Ish Sodhi and said the pitches for the Tests would have to be "very, very green" for the team management to think of fielding an all-pace attack.

"Even if it a green wicket, it is not green for five days," Hesson said. "So if your seamers are able to do the job over the first two-three days, then you have got some variation coming over the back end. It will have to be very, very green for us not to play a spin bowler.

"He [Sodhi] has returned to first-class cricket. He has some experience in the shorter form and he's performed nicely in that. So he's confident and he's the best spin bowler in the country and he's only 21."

New Zealand squad for the Tests against India: Brendon McCullum (c), Corey Anderson, Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Peter Fulton, Hamish Rutherford, Jesse Ryder, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling, Kane Williamson

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  • Dummy4 on February 1, 2014, 20:02 GMT

    They should induct Matt Henry and Hamish Bennett. Indian Batsmen are scared of serious pace. New Zealand can do serious psychological damage to Indian Batsmen with short pitched, pace bowling aimed at heart and head. Wagner and Southee do not have the pace, they need Hamish and Henry.

  • Dummy4 on January 31, 2014, 7:01 GMT

    Bracewell?? No. Matt Henry/Milne should be there. Bring Ryder in for Fulton. No need a spinner

  • Marcus on January 30, 2014, 4:16 GMT

    @Nikko Chum and Campbell Sinclair.

    Yes, I called the ODI series wrong, and maybe NZ can win the tests, but..

    a. I'm not an Indian supporter at all, and I enjoy watching them get beaten at every turn. You've simply assumed I'm Indian.

    b. Maybe I'm just lazily trolling to wind some kiwis up.

    Best of luck for the next ODI and the tests. :)

  • Dummy4 on January 29, 2014, 23:59 GMT

    @Smash42 - yeah, but you also thought we had no chance at all in the ODI series and we have more-or-less wiped you off the face of the earth on batting-friendly pitches. So, are you deciding to bring karma back upon yourself again? Awesome! Thanks for that. 'Cos, you are right to suggest we have far less of a chance in the tests, but you should know by now, you do not go well with the favourite tag playing a team with nothing to lose that fields and bowls better than you, do you? And we are that team. Aren't we now Mr guy following their team as they lose their way around the globe on their way back home to flat-track bully their way back up the stats and reignite their delusions? 3-0 from 4 ODIs.... focus and worry about that for now big talker.... And be glad we named a test team far weaker than it ever needed to be or should have been. *-)

  • Dummy4 on January 28, 2014, 23:39 GMT

    @Smash42 well mate you were probably stating that before the ODI series. In fact is a pretty arrogant statement to make. India are pretty useless outside of India and the subcontinent . So NZ has a good chance.

  • Dummy4 on January 27, 2014, 22:27 GMT

    The only real spot for Ryder is McCullum's. But whilst McCullum is not up to it with the bat, he is a very strong leader and captain. I'm hoping that when McCullum eventually does get pushed out of the squad, we keep him on in management because he, along with Mike Hesson, have done a fantastic job with this young NZ squad.

  • Dummy4 on January 27, 2014, 22:14 GMT

    @cricketlover.... why would you change a team that won? Simple.... because we are not that defeatist, scared to make a move team of yester-year you want back. The West Indies lacked fight, technique, resolve, spirit.... rankings are a farce. We beat them as we were better and played better. But with India here, we are not trying to pick the same team that 'won the last series'... we are supposed to be picking the BEST team to have the BEST chance of winning the NEXT series against a MUCH stronger unit, in a series that will bury the BCCI's proposals and shame them IF WE WIN!!!! It is arguably the most important test series in NZ cricketing history and we went in with Fulton, Rutherford and Bracewell?? Instead of Guptill, Ryder and Neesham!!!??? What a total joke!! You pick your best team and Ryder and Guptill were NOT available for selection for the West Indies tests, so form was never the reason for missing selection there. It is a boring, underwhelming, weaker than necessary team.

  • balaji on January 27, 2014, 8:28 GMT

    @harmony I cannot stop laughing about your predictions about india please don't post jokes here.I think luke ronchi deserves test call up.By the way kohli,pujara showed their skills in proteas and they can prove it against kiwis too.

  • D on January 27, 2014, 3:56 GMT

    No. Fulton is not a long-term option. We need Guppy back.

  • Jon on January 27, 2014, 3:13 GMT

    It seems crazy to me that Jesse Ryder is fit and ready to play and we cant find a slot for him. Is our top 6 really that strong??! I like Fulton but he'd miss out in my team -- I'd also pick Bracewell to be the workhorse ahead of Wagner.

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