New Zealand v Australia, 2009-10 March 14, 2010

Sinclair recalled after two-year absence


New Zealand have gone back to a familiar but inconsistent batsman in Mathew Sinclair as they attempt to challenge Australia in Friday's opening Test in Wellington. Sinclair, 34, is a chance for his sixth return to the XI after coming into the 13-man squad for Neil Broom on the back of a strong domestic season for Central Districts.

Sinclair has been elevated to cover for the top order and is a strange choice given the assignment is against the world's No. 3-ranked side. Sinclair scored two double-hundreds at the start of his career, but he played the last of his 32 Tests in March 2008. In eight matches against Australia he has managed only one half-century and an average of 14.13.

"We felt we needed a cover top-order batter, rather than cover for our middle order, so Neil is a little unlucky in that respect," the coach Mark Greatbatch said. "[Neil's] form is not quite as good as it was in February."

Sinclair's best chance is if the selectors lose faith in his Central Districts team-mate Peter Ingram, the No.3, who was dropped during the one-day series after limited-overs returns of 2, 0, 40, 14 and 5. Sinclair, who has 638 Plunket Shield runs at 58.00 this season, appears more likely to come into serious consideration for the second game if there are problems at the top at the Basin Reserve.

The doubts over New Zealand's limited batting options mean Daniel Vettori will enter at six after doing the job in the past two Tests. Vettori, who is usually a No.8, posted 134, his fifth century, against Pakistan in Napier and added 10 and 13 against Bangladesh.

"It gives a very good balance to our side," Greatbatch said of Vettori's promotion. "It enables us to play the five bowlers we are looking for, whether that is four seamers and one spinner, or three seamers and two spinners. We have the ability to be flexible."

New Zealand have a developing side and Greatbatch's initial aim for both Tests is to take them into a fifth day. "It's a great challenge for some of them to go up against the best side in the world," he said. "We need to compete every day and fight hard, and smart. If we can take Australia to five days we are a chance."

Both Greatbatch and Vettori are hoping the side can build on its dead-rubber one-day win on Saturday during the Test series. "Anytime you beat Australia it's a great feeling," Vettori said. "It gives us a bit of confidence going into the Tests and proceeding towards a World Cup."

New Zealand squad Tim McIntosh, B.J. Watling, Peter Ingram, Ross Taylor, Martin Guptill, Daniel Vettori (capt), Mathew Sinclair, Brendon McCullum (wk), Daryl Tuffey, Jeetan Patel, Tim Southee, Chris Martin, Brent Arnel.

Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Levi on March 16, 2010, 7:40 GMT

    1.MacIntosh/Ingram 2.Watling 3.Guptill 4.Taylor 5.Sinclair 6.Vettori 7.McCullum 8.Tuffey 9.Patel 10.Southee 11. Martin. i feel for NZ also so many injuries its just luck something has to come right round the corner for them and i admit the selection for their test sides with fringe players is inconceivable but they must change what their doing with the team at the moment and have suitable cover for injuries as for retirements that is cricket its inevitable. Ryder, Elliott, Mills and consider the availables How, Franklin, Flynn, anyone could come in for the questionables Macintosh, Ingram, Sinclair's position. Its simply dont perform your out...plenty of optional rotationals and discards im just saying

  • Sam on March 16, 2010, 2:24 GMT

    bring back richard hadlee...

  • santhosh on March 16, 2010, 1:30 GMT

    i think the time is right to blood jeet raval. on a lighter note, bring back martin crowe and glenn turner and i bet they can perform better than the correct lot. even greatbatch could try his hand.

  • Kahurangi on March 15, 2010, 19:46 GMT

    Scott Styris has retired from tests. As for Lou Vincent, Greatbatch has talked to him and he isn't committed to playing in NZ at the moment because of family committments overseas. Its not any selection issue. When you look at the players who have retired from tests it really is a sad story. No Oram, Bond, O'Brien, Vincent, Styris. Not to mention that Ryder is injured, and Elliott and Mills for ODIs as well.

  • Payadhi on March 15, 2010, 17:23 GMT

    Mathe Sinclair is newzealand Ajit Agarkar

  • anand on March 15, 2010, 15:24 GMT

    i can't see scott styris in the this a joke?

  • Neil on March 15, 2010, 11:17 GMT

    Some countries have a culture of putting kids straight into international cricket; Pakistan especially. You cannot compare that with NZ selection ideas, they are two completely different cultures and expectations.

    First, kids in Pakistan are usually more mature at the same age. They usually come from poor backgrounds and have to work to help support their families. This isn't always true (Shoaib was a spoiled brat) but it usually is.

    Whereas a kid in NZ who has exceptional talent will be treated like a prince and by the age of 17 or so will not have done a days hard work in his life.

    The second point is the potential damage to a career. They did it with Ken Rutherford - selected him young for a tour of the WI and he got completely raped by their bowlers. He was never any good against pace after that and it ruined him.

    If they are too young, you cannot repair the damage if they don't succeed. If you wait a few years it can't hurt at all.

  • michael on March 15, 2010, 7:51 GMT

    Williamson should have been included..everyone knows even the new zealand cricket coaching staff that Ingram has not got the technique for international cricket. Why waste time? Umar akmal is doing well.On a positive note though the future middle to lower order is looking pretty decent- 3.Guptill 4.Taylor 5.Williamson 6.Rhyder 7.McCullem 8.Vettori.Thats assuming they are all fit and dont pull a Oram/softey career. Openers are a lost cause in Nz always have been Macintosh is a joke but i guess watling looks alrite.

  • Dummy4 on March 15, 2010, 3:41 GMT

    The whole thing is nonsense..... there is no modern-day equivalent of that 1980s west indies' team..... the honest turth is this: If you are good enough, you are old enough. The best experience a new zeland player can get IS in the black caps... domestic cricket season after season is a preparation for mediocrity.... because you don't face 140-plus all the time.... etc etc..... so, yes, kane williamson should be in the team.... We need to see the back of people like Franklin and other bowling-'all-rounders' and have youth like aa-rounders Neesham and/or Andersen come through quickly.... then in four years we can win tests and world cups etc etc.... This pre-conceived notion that one needs at least three seasons of this and that is nonsense!! How's that 17 year-old guy been bowling for pakistan? AWESOME. And yet we are debating whether 21-23 is too young? This is why New Zealand cricket will always fail... we don't think outside the box... there is NOTHING to lose... is there?

  • Nick on March 15, 2010, 3:20 GMT

    Does aanyone know what's happened to Lou Vincent?

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