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Latham to lead NZ in Ireland, uncapped Rance in squad

Tom Latham will lead New Zealand for the first time in next month's ODI tri-series against Ireland and Bangladesh. With ten players, including Kane Williamson, unavailable for selection due to IPL commitments, Latham will captain a new-look side that includes uncapped fast bowler Seth Rance and fast-bowling allrounder Scott Kuggeleijn.

Neil Wagner, who was recently named NZC's Test player of the year, could be in line for his ODI debut, five years after his first international appearance. New Zealand have also recalled fast bowler Hamish Bennett, batsmen Henry Nicholls and Colin Munro, and allrounder George Worker. Jeetan Patel, who is an overseas player for Warwickshire, will join the team for the fourth ODI.

NZC has said that players involved in the IPL will join the squad in Ireland on a case-by-case basis, once their involvement in the league ends, while fast bowlers Ed Nuttall, Doug Bracewell and Ben Wheeler were not considered due to injuries.

Both Rance and Kuggeleijn have been rewarded for consistent performances in white-ball cricket in the 2016-17 domestic season. Rance, who plays for Central Districts, was the joint highest wicket-taker in the Super Smash T20 tournament, with 15 wickets from 11 matches. Kuggeleijn, who represents Northern Districts, topped the charts in the Ford Trophy, taking 17 wickets in nine List A matches at an average of 25, in addition to a handy 242 runs in eight innings. Kuggeleijn had also been called up to the Test squad in the home series against South Africa last month as cover after injuries to Trent Boult and Lockie Ferguson. Bennett, who last played for New Zealand in 2014, was the second-highest wicket-taker in the Ford Trophy with 16 wickets in nine games at an average of 20.18.

Worker, too, has returned consistent performances in the Ford Trophy. He was the highest run-getter, striking two centuries and four fifties in a tally of 659 runs, nearly 200 more than the next highest. In addition, he also picked up 12 wickets with his left-arm spin, the most for Central Districts in the tournament.

New Zealand selector Gavin Larsen said the absence of senior players was an opportunity to give new players a taste of international cricket.

"This is a fantastic opportunity to give new players a taste of international cricket, as well as reward guys who have pushed their way back into contention," Larsen said. "Neil is an example of someone whose bowling has gone from strength to strength. He's performed well in the Ford Trophy when he's had the chance and also brings considerable international experience to the side.

"Scott and Seth have worked their way into the side following superb domestic form over an extended period of time, which is equally true for George and Hamish who have earned recalls."

Larsen also said the decision to appoint Latham as captain ahead of Ross Taylor was done with a view to give Latham a chance to develop as a leader.

"Tom has been a leader within the side for a while now and this is a chance to continue his development in that area," Larsen said. "At 25 years old Tom is still a youthful captain, but he's performed the role well for Canterbury and New Zealand Under-19 in the past. With the likes of Ross and Luke in the squad, there also are some experienced players to help support him.

"It's a great learning opportunity for Tom and a chance for other squad members to take on a bigger leadership role too."

The tri-series begins on May 12, with New Zealand's opening game scheduled on May 14 against Ireland.