New Zealand have named Central Districts batsman Tom Bruce and allrounder Ben Wheeler in their 14-man squad for the upcoming T20Is against Bangladesh. Allrounder Corey Anderson, who has been plagued by a back injury for the major part of 2016, has been picked as a batsman.
Fast bowler Trent Boult was selected but will be rested for the first of the three T20Is. Fellow quick Tim Southee was rested for the entire series in preparation for the two Tests that follow.
Batsman Ross Taylor, who had had surgery to remove a benign growth in his left eye after the Hamilton Test against Pakistan in late November, was not picked for this series, but will return to domestic T20 cricket "within the next few days", according to selector Gavin Larsen.
Anderson had played in the World T20 in March, before the back injury ruled him out of the tours of Zimbabwe and South Africa. He then returned for the five-ODI series in India in October, where he was also picked as just a batsman. Anderson scored only 31 runs in four games and tried his hand at bowling in the final match - four overs, 27 runs, no wicket. Subsequently he was left out of the Chappell-Hadlee ODIs in Australia, which Taylor had also missed due to his surgery.
Larsen said the uncapped batsman Bruce would boost the squad's hitting power. "Tom has been one of the leading players in the Super Smash [the domestic T20 competition] the past two years and is one of the cleanest strikers of a cricket ball in the country. He has averaged 76 at a strike-rate of 174 so far this season, so Tom has proven himself to be a very dangerous player," Larsen said. "Power is a critical element to Twenty20 cricket, so to have him alongside the likes of Martin [Guptill], Corey and the two Colins [Munro and de Grandhomme] is an exciting prospect."
Left arm pace-bowling allrounder Wheeler, also from Central Districts, had played six ODIs between June and August 2015, but is yet to play a T20 international. He has not contributed much with the bat in the Super Smash so far this season, but has six wickets from five games at 27.16.
"Ben has put in a lot of hard work to get to this point again, so we're looking forward to having him back in the mix," Larsen said. "His ability to swing the ball at a decent clip can trouble any batsman, as he has shown in domestic cricket this season.
"We've got some really exciting players coming through and it's important to give them opportunities and introduce them to the international stage. There are a number of players who just missed out - the likes of Mark Chapman, Neil Wagner, George Worker and Seth Rance were all seriously considered."
The three T20s against Bangladesh will be played from January 3 in Napier. This series is New Zealand's first T20I assignment since the World T20.