New Zealand in Sri Lanka 2009 July 7, 2009

Young surprised at national call-up

Cricinfo staff

Reece Young, the Auckland wicketkeeper-batsman, has said he hadn't expected to be picked in the national squad for the two-Test tour of Sri Lanka.

"I was very surprised when (the head of the selection panel) Glenn Turner told me I had been picked as the Test back-up to Brendon McCullum," Reece said. "I expected to hear I was on the New Zealand A tour to India but to get told I was to tour Sri Lanka was pretty special."

This was the first call-up to the senior side for the 29-year-old, and comes more than a decade after he made his first-class debut. What makes Young's inclusion even more unexpected is that he lost the wicketkeeper's spot at Auckland to Gareth Hopkins last season.

His selection comes as a reward after a season in which he topped Auckland's batting charts, making 557 runs at 50.63, to lead them to the State Championship title. He said that focusing on his batting helped him leapfrog competitors for the reserve wicketkeeper's slot such as Hopkins, Peter McGlashan and Chris Nevin.

"I think that is probably what gave me a bit of an edge," he said. "My keeping has been pretty sound. It was the batting where I needed to show that I could hold my own."

He also said that his wealth of experience (85 first-class matches) would be a huge benefit. "I feel as you get through the late 20s, you get to know your game a lot more," he said. "I feel I am a better player than in my early years - I know what I can do and can't do and it holds you in good stead for the next level."

Before heading to Sri Lanka in August, Young will represent the New Zealand side in the Emerging Players tournament in Brisbane which starts later this month.