Zimbabwe in New Zealand 2011-12 February 2, 2012

Tarun Nethula 'surprised' at selection

ESPNcricinfo staff

Legspinner Tarun Nethula has said he was surprised to know he'd been picked in the New Zealand squad for the three-ODI series against Zimbabwe starting on Friday. It would have been be less of a surprise, he said, if he had been called up to the Test squad.

"It was more a surprise because I'd never really put myself into contention for the limited-overs format," Nethula told the New Zealand Herald. "I didn't make any winter tours, either for the A side or Emerging Players. I thought there were a couple [of players] ahead of me. It took a while to sink in."

Nethula, 28, was born in Hyderabad but moved to New Zealand at the age of 11. He picked up 28 wickets in the 2008-09 season for Auckland, helping them with the first-class competition, and then moved to Central Districts.

"The main reason was to try and really challenge myself to play all forms of the game," Nethula said, explaining the reason behind his move. "I was desperate to play limited-overs cricket. Auckland had an abundance of allrounders and spinners. I approached CD and I'm quite grateful they gave me an opportunity."

Nethula has played 27 first-class matches, picking up 78 wickets at 35.92. He's played fewer List A games, taking 17 wickets in 12 matches, and has 10 wickets in nine Twenty20 games. His aim is to keep his place in the squad for New Zealand's winter tours to West Indies, India, Sri Lanka and South Africa.

"It is one of my goals to finish the season in a really strong manner and put myself in the frame to get on a winter tour," Nethula said. "If there is an opening for a second spinner, I definitely want to be the one putting my hand up. But it's baby steps for now."

Nethula will not be playing the first ODI against Zimbabwe in Dunedin, as he's not been picked in the squad of 12 for the game.