New Zealand in Sri Lanka 2012-13 October 11, 2012

Todd Astle in New Zealand Test squad

ESPNcricinfo staff

The uncapped legspinner Todd Astle has been named in New Zealand's Test squad for their upcoming tour of Sri Lanka. Astle will have a strong chance of making his debut in the spin-friendly conditions, given that Jeetan Patel is the only other slow bowler in the squad, with Tarun Nethula having been axed and Daniel Vettori ruled out after suffering an Achilles tendon problem during the World Twenty20.

New Zealand have named a 15-man squad for the two Tests, in Galle and Colombo in the second half of November, and a 15-man group for the one Twenty20 and five ODIs that precede the Tests. Three members of the World T20 squad have not been included for the limited-overs games: the injured Vettori; the fast bowler Doug Bracewell; and the opener Martin Guptill, whose workload is being managed.

The Test squad features the batsman Rob Nicol, who played two Tests against South Africa in March before he was dropped and treated as a limited-overs specialist for the next few months. But the only uncapped player in the group is Astle, the Canterbury legspinner, who has picked up 127 first-class wickets at an average of 34.79 in a career spanning seven seasons.

Astle, 26, was the second-leading spinner in the Plunket Shield last summer, with 31 victims at 38.35, and the national selection manager Kim Littlejohn said his all-round skills gave him the edge ahead of other bowlers.

"He has the ability to contribute in all three facets of the game and deserves his opportunity after a putting in consistent performances over a number of seasons," Littlejohn said of Astle. "Tarun Nethula has missed out on selection this time. We think he would benefit from a return to regular first-class cricket where he can get some overs under his belt and stake his claim for reselection.

Littlejohn also said the wicketkeeper-batsman BJ Watling was not included in the Test squad as it was considered better for him to be given some game time in the Plunket Shield. "BJ Watling will return to New Zealand after the one-day matches," Littlejohn said. "He has spent a lot of time touring but has had limited opportunities to play and we believe it is best for his development if he's made available for the upcoming Plunket Shield fixtures."

Trent Boult, Andrew Ellis and Tom Latham were all named in the squad for the T20 and ODIs, having not been part of the World T20 group. Littlejohn said the decision to leave Bracewell out had been made to allow him to work on some technical problems ahead of the Test series.

"Doug Bracewell will miss the short-form matches so he can spend some time working on a few minor technical issues with his action," Littlejohn said. "The best approach is to spend time getting things right in domestic four-day cricket ahead of the Test series.

"Ronnie Hira and Adam Milne have been included in the ODI squad having previously being selected in T20 sides. We have been impressed by the development of both players and they offer the side something a bit different.

"It has been a demanding period for the Black Caps, especially for the players who compete in all three forms. As part of the on-going management of player workload we have decided to rest Martin Guptill for the T20 and ODI matches so he can refresh for the upcoming international commitments."

The tour begins with a T20 on October 30 in Pallekele, before five ODIs from November 1 to November 12. The Test series runs from November 17 to November 29.

Test squad Martin Guptill, Rob Nicol, Daniel Flynn, Brendon McCullum, Ross Taylor (capt), Kane Williamson, James Franklin, Kruger van Wyk, Doug Bracewell, Tim Southee, Todd Astle, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult, Jeetan Patel, Chris Martin.

ODI and Twenty20 squad Rob Nicol, Brendon McCullum, Ross Taylor (capt), Kane Williamson, BJ Watling, James Franklin, Jacob Oram, Tom Latham, Nathan McCullum, Andrew Ellis, Kyle Mills, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Ronnie Hira, Adam Milne.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Kanchan on October 14, 2012, 23:52 GMT

    Ummm...Where's Tarun Nethula?

  • Dummy4 on October 14, 2012, 5:37 GMT

    Todd Astle chucks it. So does Adam Milne. We have a real throwing problem in NZ. As a man who coaches kids cricket I think it stems from me telling them they should throw it to gain an extra yard or two. On a related note, Kyle Mills does throw it and still can't break the 130km barrier. What's with that?

  • Dummy4 on October 14, 2012, 1:36 GMT

    on the bright side if he fails in the 1st test as a bowler and we have a injury he cud always open if there is an injury.

  • joe on October 12, 2012, 19:50 GMT

    john steele.... u got to be joking Arnel,martin? did you not see Southees efforts against india in the second test? Arnel has done nothing and should never be picked again and Martins future is doubtfull with the emergence of the younger crop of bowlers coming through. spin department is still a bit shakey but hopefully Astle and Patel can thrive in spin friendly conditions Batting line up looks good though maybe a bit light with young at 6 but totally agree with his inclusion aswell as Brownlie they both should not have been dropped. I think all 3 series will be closely fought and should make for interesting viewing

  • P on October 12, 2012, 14:05 GMT

    need to bring in a young new batsmen in the team, really think a couple have a go, they just haven't performed. Fair enough giving another spinner a go, hope he can step up early and make a claim in the team.

  • josh on October 12, 2012, 12:26 GMT

    agree with 4seamers NZ will be unbeatable as a test squad in a cpl of years, disagree with the Oram banter he still has plenty to offer if it wasnt for injury he would be makin the likes of Kallis and Botham look bad.

  • Hasitha on October 12, 2012, 12:00 GMT

    Will be had to attack Sri Lankan bating line up.

  • Dummy4 on October 12, 2012, 10:16 GMT

    My test XI would be 1.Guptill 2.McCullum 3.Williamson 4.Taylor 5.Brownlie 6.Young 7.Bracewell 8.Patel 9.Boult 10.Astle 11.Arnel/Martin

    It will give some younger players a go, Brownlie needs time and he will be class as will Young. While the Boult Bracewell Arnel combination works well, and Astle seems a good prospect for the future. Martin might be good too hold some experience in our bowling attack.

  • carl on October 12, 2012, 8:10 GMT

    very clever foresight from buchannan. he is fast tracking the right players at the right time. latham, and milne are getting more exposure, and nethula has had a taste. in the meantime, patel is the man for the job, while flynn must produce to hold his place.

    there is a strong possibility that nz's future test attack will revolve around 4 seamers, ( bracewell, southee, boult, milne). that means williamson will need to improve as a spin option. astle has this same potential. opening the batting used to be his forte, but his bowling has improved while his batting has slipped. never the less, he may develop, as george worker may, to cover williiamson.

    hopefully bevan small and kieron noema-barnett continue to develop and get a taste soon.

  • Mattias on October 12, 2012, 4:37 GMT

    Blackcaps selections remind me of how Australia selected spinners for tests recently: Give everyone a go for a series, pull a name out of nowhere. Nethula did nothing special on tour and for New Zealand A, so fair enough to give Astle a go. But why did he not play for NZ A? Why select a player that hasnt played any cricket for half a year (that I know of). If they had him in mind, surely they should have tested him against India A.

    Also, the fact that Guptill is rested shows how teams start devalueing ODI's. Whilst it is fair enough to give guptill a rest considering Auckland qualified for the Champions League, the Blackcaps chances are considerably less without him. Batting selections are good except Nicol should not be in the Test squad.

    Selecting test players because they offer a bit of everything is ridiculous! Top 6 Batsmen, Top 4 Bowlers plus 1 Keeper who can bat.

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