New Zealand v West Indies, 3rd Test, Hamilton December 17, 2013

Neesham provides Anderson cover

James Neesham, the uncapped Otago allrounder, has been brought into New Zealand's squad for the third Test against West Indies as cover for Corey Anderson who has picked up a problem with his right shin although he is expected to be fit to take his place in the line-up on Thursday.

During Anderson's career he has had to deal with a number of injuries, the most recent being with a rib which he picked up in Sri Lanka but he is confident that the latest twinge is nothing to be concerned about.

"It's more just a precaution, doing the right things," he said. "With an early finish to that second Test it made it easier. It's been niggling away over the past week or so. It will be nice to get the results back this afternoon to see what it is but I'm still confident."

Anderson's own experiences help him to judge when a problem is worth serious concern. "I'm starting to learn about my body and know when something is bad. I've had plenty of them before and they aren't nice but this doesn't feel like one of those."

It has been an encouraging series for Anderson following on from his debut in Bangladesh where he scored a hundred in his second Test. After a first-innings failure in Dunedin he helped calm the run chase, albeit the rain had the final say, and in Wellington he struck a confident 38 to ensure West Indies could not hurry through New Zealand's middle order.

The latest injury bulletin on Anderson - even if it proves minor - supports what Mike Hesson, the New Zealand coach, spoke about after the second Test when he said he did not foresee Anderson becoming a frontline seamer in the five-day game because they don't want to push his body too hard.

His performance in Wellington - a solid contribution in the middle order, three wickets from 17 overs and a safe pair of hands - is the template Hesson will want him to follow, providing the much sought-after balance of a fifth bowler but also a batsman capable of playing in the top six.

"I still think my job is to get runs," Anderson said. "I'm a batting allrounder and if I can chip in with the ball then that's a bonus. At the moment I've had a couple of starts with the bat but it would be nice to kick on."

So far in the first innings of this series Anderson has walked in at 380 for 4 and 189 for 4, so hardly positions of crisis for New Zealand, and while he is more than content to watch the top order go about their work efficiently he is confident that, as he hinted in the Dunedin chase, he has the capacity to bail his side out of trouble.

"Someone would have had to fail if that's the case which you never like, but if I have to be put in that position I'm more than happy for the challenge. I'd go out there with the same mindset."

Understandably there is plenty of confidence from the New Zealand players after the manner of the victory in Wellington and the belief they would have been 2-0 up already without the rain. However, series wins have been a rare breed and they know this is a chance they can't afford to let slip.

"The win at the Basin was nice, but we want to do more than that - not just get excited at wins every now and again," Anderson said.

It was a view echoed by BJ Watling. "Cricket can bring you back down to earth pretty quickly. We've got ourselves into winning positions twice so won't be changing too much."

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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  • Matt on December 17, 2013, 16:26 GMT

    Although I would prefer a pure batsman like Brownlie, Capocha or Raval as back up for Anderson, I am happy with the fact that the selectors moved to a new, young all rounder in Neesham and didn't go back to the old boys Franklin or Elliott. The team is working well with the fresh faces.

  • Dummy4 on December 17, 2013, 16:17 GMT

    As an indian fan, I saw Neesham for the first time in the CLT20 in India this year and I was impressed by this guy. He can bowl at a bustling pace and his batting looked like that of a top order batsman. I know I am comparing him with his T20 exploits to test cricket but this guy has the talent to take NZ cricket forward and be one of the best allrounders of the game in coming years.

  • Dummy4 on December 17, 2013, 12:34 GMT

    Actually Neesham is 100% a batting / true all-rounder. His bowling has simply improved so much of late that you mistake it for being his naturally superior skill, but it is not. He is a true all-rounder.... and 80% of his early feats during development were with bat (his 200 and 100s when he was in National tournament against all the same players that are in the scene now)... the guy is not a slogger. Given time you will find he has great technical strengths and can hit either side of the wicket with equal ability. His position in the order for Otago is more about balance, though he does now frequently bat at 6 for them and seems to have usurped others in that order he used to bat below (due to youth and heirachy). On his bowling... he is low 140s if chooses, though would pull that back in a test I imagine, and he already has a first-class average of 31 and has taken 50 wickets. In many more games, Andersen has netted 30-odd wickets at 70. They're both quality and improving cricketers.

  • Blaen on December 17, 2013, 11:56 GMT

    Every time I see Corey Anderson, I think to myself that he should playing for the All Blacks instead of the Black Caps :=).

    Was impressed by his bowling. Hope he plays the third test because NZ need to win and win convincingly. NZ need to make a statement to the rest of the world...especially India who will be visiting shortly.

  • William on December 17, 2013, 7:13 GMT

    Really hope Anderson plays as I am not sure if Neesham even bats in the top 6 for the volts so he could not bat at 6 at test level. This is the chance to pull Wagner out after two lacklustre tests and bring in Neesham who is in fine form with bat and ball who would provide more variety to our attack. I would like to see Neesham and Anderson bowl in tandem in this next test Ideal third test 11 Fulton, Rutherford, Williamson, Taylor, McCullum, Anderson, Watling, Neesham, Sodhi, Southee, Boult

  • jared on December 17, 2013, 6:54 GMT

    sweet i got my wish, neesham didn't get pigeon holed as a short format player, on form he deserves a shot in the test team, only i would of had him batting at 8 and playing as the third seamer more than the genuine allrounder at 6 but maybe watling can go up to 6 and neesham doesn't disgrace the number 7 slot. this is a good move from the selectors, swaping an allrounder with an allrounder to keep the balance of the side.

  • Dummy4 on December 17, 2013, 6:17 GMT

    if nz end up picking neesham i hope watling moves up as neesham is not a batting allrounder and his bowling is not at a low enough economy recently to be used for a high amount of overs.

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