New Zealand in Sri Lanka 2012-13

Todd Astle in New Zealand Test squad

ESPNcricinfo staff

October 11, 2012

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Todd Astle took 4 for 26 to help Canterbury lift the State Championship, Wellington v Canterbury, State Championship final, 5th day, Wellington, April 11, 2008
Todd Astle could make his Test debut next month © Getty Images
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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.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by KanchanBNZ on (October 14, 2012, 23:52 GMT)

Ummm...Where's Tarun Nethula?

Posted by   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?

Posted by   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.

Posted by choppa13 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

Posted by pt_pt 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.

Posted by jplterrors 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.

Posted by Sanga2014 on (October 12, 2012, 12:00 GMT)

Will be had to attack Sri Lankan bating line up.

Posted by   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.

Posted by 4seamers 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.

Posted by 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.

Posted by anver777 on (October 12, 2012, 4:04 GMT)

NZ will certainly miss experienced Vettori's services in SL conditions....... like to see another super over involving NZ in the only T20 in this tour !!!!!!! Good Luck to both teams !!!!

Posted by BenGundry on (October 12, 2012, 3:28 GMT)

I'm pretty happy with the selections for both squads. Some sensible decisions made. One thought though, Oram is still competitive, but his bowling has slipped a bit. Maybe he should be stepping aside to make room for someone younger. There's other all-rounders in the squad, I wouldn't have minded seeing Bates in the T20/ODI squad, I've a feeling he's going to have a good Champions T20 Trophy.

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 0:38 GMT)

Lol@leaving Patel out in favour of Nethula. Do you know how far he is ahead of the next best? Do you realise (iirc) that in the english county season just gone he took 40 odd wickets@21? Not exactly the best place to bowl spin.

Astle and Nethula are both a long way from the international game imo. Whereas Patel has the experience and has definitely earned selection. Astle and Nethula have done nothing to earn selection. They are only even considered because of our shocking lack of depth of quality spin bowlers. Look at Nethula's recent numbers against India A, sure not helpful conditions but he got absolutely slapped.

Posted by Camdor on (October 12, 2012, 0:24 GMT)

Once again the NZ selectors let us down. Flynn over Brownlie!! Astle over Nethula!! So over it!!!

Posted by   on (October 12, 2012, 0:03 GMT)

its a good thing they made tom latham in the side he is already has 2 hundreds in first class and 1 in list a and he is only 20 he is going to be a big star

Posted by SamAsh07 on (October 11, 2012, 20:16 GMT)

Where is Grant Elliot? I still recall his mauling of Pakistan in a certain semi-final.

Posted by   on (October 11, 2012, 18:17 GMT)

I don't understand why some Cricket series is played in colder wet periods when Cricket is a Summer sport game only played on Summer.

Posted by harmske on (October 11, 2012, 18:07 GMT)

i look at some of these comments (where are vincent, elliot, brownlie) and i think, "i know, i know"! these 3 are much better than flynn & franklin yet our selectors continue to see some value in the likes of flynn & patel - who will no doubt churn out a few typical "patel-like" 3/138 in 29.4 overs spells. seriously, why is patel still in the team? give nethula a go alongside astle. they couldn't do anyworse than Jeetan.

Posted by   on (October 11, 2012, 16:07 GMT)

what is the cause to not be selection of lou vincent ? he is one of the agressive cricketor of newzealand team.

Posted by Sinhaya on (October 11, 2012, 13:29 GMT)

@sarthak.ghosh, well actually regarding SL weather dont forget that the ODIs and T20 against India went totally hassle free. Also dont forget that the 2 tests against England were also free of rain interruptions. Yes Pakistan series, 2nd test was rain hit along with an ODI of course. T20 world cup, only 3 games were rain affected (2 restricted and 1 no result) in contrast to the 2010 T20 where 3 were rain curtailed and was no result. So the T20 world cup here was a success. But yes November is I think the wettest month and at least 30 to 40% can be a washout.

Posted by stormy16 on (October 11, 2012, 13:02 GMT)

I would include a 3rd spinner in any test squad to Asia.

Posted by kingkarthik on (October 11, 2012, 11:49 GMT)

No matches in Dambulla as the Buddist monestary near the ground has made a legal claim stating that the ground has been built on land owned by it. The legal issues have curtailed any matched being played there. I am predicting that all the matches will be affected at some point or the other by rain. Anyways, the New Zealanders are in for a massively tough time against SL's spin armoury. As usual have an unsettled and unimpressive opening partnership.... when did the openers last give a 100 run partnership for NZ? Are heavily reliant on McCullum and Taylor. Todd Astle has with 31 victims @ 38.35 in the last Plunket Shield, these are not amazing numbers. If he averages close to 40 in dismissing average NZ club players, not sure it merits a place. Correct me if I am wrong, NZ club players are less talented at playing spin than SL players, so he is in for a whole lot of pain. But wish him success. Also, where is Grant Elliot? He seemed a more capable player than Nicol, Flynn!!!

Posted by DINESHCC on (October 11, 2012, 11:17 GMT)

YOHANDF1984 & SARTHAK.GHOSH: What is there in 3 test series or two test series. Most probably the result will be 1-0, 5-0 & 2-0 in favour of SL. If you change the tests, it will be 1-0, 3-0 and 3-0 for SL

Posted by sarthak.ghosh on (October 11, 2012, 9:28 GMT)

@yohandf1984 I agree 5 match ODI series is too much. 3 Test, 3 ODIs, 1 T20 would have been perfect. In SL weather is always a issue though. Agree with @ denwarlo70 regarding Dambulla. For sometime now I have not seen a match there, everything ok I suppose?

Posted by stickywicketnick on (October 11, 2012, 9:13 GMT)

Why does Broom always get overlooked for the test squad? He just hit a century against India A. Wouldn't be the worst time to give him a go.

Posted by Gordo85 on (October 11, 2012, 8:26 GMT)

I have been waiting for New Zealand to hurry up and pick Todd Astle. To me he should have been picked sooner.

Posted by mthw on (October 11, 2012, 7:06 GMT)

Nicol, Flynn and Franklin in the test squad as batsman ahead of Brownlie still?

Posted by yohandf1984 on (October 11, 2012, 7:03 GMT)

Why so many (5) ODI s . after an overdose of short format, now we need a bit more of the TEST classic . would have been ideal if they have 3 test & 2 ODI s alongwith solitary T20 . NZ is one of my favourites after SL and hope good luck to them ,And of course to SL . Sri Lanka should rest their batting triangle & Malinga . So my T20 xi is Munaweera , Angelo Perera , Chandimal (WK) , Mathews (C) , Jeewan , Thirimanne ,Thissara , Kulasekara ( VC) , Shaminda Eranga , Mendis & Akila Dananjaya

Posted by Sinhaya on (October 11, 2012, 6:45 GMT)

@Thermal_sytem, I agree we are cash strapped. But we would have been better off making R Premadasa in Colombo an indoor stadium rather than wasting money on building a stadium in Hambantota which was the root cause behind our financially embattled position.

Posted by cardassian on (October 11, 2012, 5:51 GMT)

Why is Flynn in the test team? 20 matches for an average of 27 isn't good enough for a batsman. Hell it's hardly good enough for an all-rounder. NZ cricket always has many bizarre selections.

Posted by   on (October 11, 2012, 5:44 GMT)

So New Zealand have a Bracewell, a Latham, an Astle and a Patel in their squads. There is even a Rutherford waiting for his chance. May be they need yet another Hadlee, Crowe and Cairns, and a Fleming and Vettori for the future to complete the set lol.

Posted by   on (October 11, 2012, 5:38 GMT)

God knows where is Jesse Ryder?

Posted by jonesy2 on (October 11, 2012, 5:38 GMT)

the NZ selectors and whoever else is in charge have absolutely no idea what they are doing

Posted by sanjuboy83516 on (October 11, 2012, 5:35 GMT)

hope..brave Lions will crush kiwis..go lions..go..go ! we srilankan are always with U

Posted by denwarlo70 on (October 11, 2012, 4:41 GMT)

Ha ha, come New Zealand to Sri lanka and come rain along with them. This is a proven fact in Sri Lanka. Whenever there is a tour by NZ in SL, rain has always been a spoiler. I hope Dambulla will be available for the tour....

Posted by RyanHarrisGreatCricketer on (October 11, 2012, 4:39 GMT)

wat a joke? nz drop the guy nethula who absolutely troubled hashim amla in a odi this year if i can recall, becos he needs some overs under his belt. how will he get overs under his belt if he is not given a chance to show his talent? and the fact that he was in the team earlier shows that he is better than the incumbent leggie. absolute shame to pick astle just because he bowled some overs in domestic cricket

Posted by kiwicricketnut on (October 11, 2012, 4:15 GMT)

this is laughable Nethula bowled beautifully against South Africa last summer and has hardly had a look in since, cant understand the logic he has a wrongun where as to my knowledge Astle does not so he better rip the ball a long way or he will be connon fodder. Some of these selections just don't make sense Who did Watling annoy so much to be left out of the test squad, think the last test he played he scored 100 and keept beautifully what has Van Wyk done? Ellis and Oram are pretty much offer the same stuff so one or the other would do. Crazy selections really. Lawn bowls anyone?

Posted by D-Ascendant on (October 11, 2012, 4:06 GMT)

For the life of me, I don't know why Littlejohn is still around.

Posted by Htc-Android on (October 11, 2012, 4:02 GMT)

i dont understand newzealnd selectors keep on resting their key players, where they hardly play any international matches and now adays they are loosing too many matches.

Posted by Htc-Android on (October 11, 2012, 4:00 GMT)

@sinhaya. do u think Sri lankan cricket board has that much money make it to a roof opening indoor stadium?

Posted by colombo_SL on (October 11, 2012, 3:47 GMT)

@Rixgm7; agree with you. I can't even understand the exclusion of Martin Guptll fro ODI & Twenty20 squad. Hope something wrong somewhere. Like to see your team performing well here in Sri Lanka.

Posted by mfmfaiq on (October 11, 2012, 3:43 GMT)

Excuse me Wheres JESSY RYDER?????????????????

Posted by colombo_SL on (October 11, 2012, 3:41 GMT)

It is better if Sri Lankans can test their fast bowlers in these test matches. Because, they have to meet Australia at the end of this year. Waiting to see our fast bowlers performance here.

Posted by colombo_SL on (October 11, 2012, 3:39 GMT)

I think both teams should try to concentrate more on two test matches as their rankings are low in order. Love to see interesting test matches as it is the superior format of cricket.

Posted by colombo_SL on (October 11, 2012, 3:35 GMT)

Waiting to see the performance of this Todd Astle. His average is 34.79. Little bit high. Hope he take much out of our turning surfaces. It is quite interesting if Vettori is there.

Posted by colombo_SL on (October 11, 2012, 3:32 GMT)

Welcome New Zealand team to Sri Lanka!

Posted by SladeR on (October 11, 2012, 3:31 GMT)

Horrible test group. Get rid of Franklin/Nicol/Astle/Martin. But then we are a batsman short, so by default Nicol or Frankllin will have to play, and neither of them are test standard. NZ won't play 4 pacemen, so Wagner will probably be 12th man with Boult/Southee/Bracewell playing, patel should be the main spinner leaving van Wyk to keep. Is this really the best we can do? horrible, horrible, horrible.

Posted by Kiwi-Jake on (October 11, 2012, 3:09 GMT)

I can understand dropping Nethula, his few games for NZ and recent NZ A matches have shown that he is much too expensive for a spinner. Astle may be similar so I may have rather NZ give someone like Bruce Martin a shot because he is generally a bit tighter. For the life of me, I don't understand why Oram is still around.

Posted by   on (October 11, 2012, 2:51 GMT)

Yeah, agree with Matthew! The batting lineup in the limited overs formats looks very thin in the absence of Marty! Hope the rest of them can bat 50 overs! :D

Posted by Sinhaya on (October 11, 2012, 2:40 GMT)

November is the wettest month in Sri Lanka and doubt if we can get even 50% of the cricket. But hope I am wrong as less hopes I have, less the disappointment. This is where we should have made the Colombo R Premadasa an indoor stadium just like Melbourne's Ethihad Stadium instead of building a stadium in the middle of nowhere in Hambantota. Well last November was dryer than 2010 November when the West Indies came. Even now it is not really raining in Colombo. Hope it rains heavily from now onwards till say 26th October so that we can get dry weather when NZ are here.

Posted by UGOVINDNZ on (October 11, 2012, 2:24 GMT)

I am furious that the NZ selectors have picked another legspinner at the disposal of Tarun Nethula? Their explanation was that he needs overs under his belt at first class level and that Astle is better at the other 2 aspects of the game. Nethula was taken to the West Indies and India for the 2 match series only to sit on the ropes while watching the two indian spinners clean up the hapless kiwis. Had nz played 2 spinners the contest would have been closer because even indian batsmen have not played spin that well in recent times. Legspinners need confidence and Nethula would have thrived on the slow tracks. Selectors should pick bowlers for bowling and batsmen for batting. Not "a-bit-of-both" That will not get a test victory. I hope NZ pick Astle and Jeetan Patel in SL for a change instead of playing 3 seamers and lose again and again. Go the Kiwis.

Posted by NanoTechnology on (October 11, 2012, 1:23 GMT)

Pretty harsh on Nethula to tour the world with the team, play a match here and there, then get dropped and told to "stake his claim for reselection". Not that Astle is a bad choice, being a Kiwi legbreak bowler take some bravery and strength of character I'd say. If I were a selector (call me "Friar Tuck" maybe?) I wouldn't play Milne in the twenty20s. He would be in the ODI team, and told to play like Bond did, that is, an agressive fast bowler looking for wickets with the new ball. It would be a shame to waste him on 2 over spells, watching his confidence go down the drain with every scoop or slog to the ropes. I think ODI are now a good training ground for bowlers. Without the endurance requirements of a test, but more forgiving than a twenty20, with more scope for some line and length practice.

Posted by Fluid36 on (October 11, 2012, 1:01 GMT)

Mentions that he was the second most successful spinner in the plunket shield, yes that's true, in fact the most successful spinner in the plunket shield was also the leading overall wicket taker amongst all bowlers, namely Bruce Martin. Bruce Martin continues to be overlooked even though his stats lately and his stats career wise are far far superior to either Astle or the useless Patel. Why this is still happening continues to defy belief, get Bucko in the team.

Posted by corzaNZ on (October 11, 2012, 0:57 GMT)

Why is Oram still being picked. it has to be time for someone new

Posted by Rixgm7 on (October 11, 2012, 0:56 GMT)

If Guppy wanted a rest he would have a)not played for the Auckland in Champions League b) not played for Derbyshire c) not played for Suburbs New Lynn (Auckland Club Cricket) at every opportunity he gets (Guppy backed up for suburbs two days after the Basin test this year). On top of this he will be going into the test matches with no warm up in Sri Lanka. Finally if Astle was going to be picked why did he not play the NZA games.

Posted by   on (October 11, 2012, 0:53 GMT)

why is Andrew Ellis in the squad?

Posted by lesshero on (October 11, 2012, 0:43 GMT)

tarun nethula didnt even get a chance. y have martin, mills and oram not retired yet, i see no changes from previous regimes here, get ready for another disappointing summer blackcaps fans

Posted by   on (October 11, 2012, 0:42 GMT)

Our batting lineup looks really thin for one dayers and 20 20s hopefully nicol and williamson can step up

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