West Indies v New Zealand 2012 May 3, 2012

Wagner named in New Zealand Test squad


The South Africa-born fast bowler Neil Wagner has been named in New Zealand's Test squad for the tour of the West Indies, while Brendon McCullum has been rested from the one-day and Twenty20 squads. New Zealand have named their touring groups for the trip, which begins with a pair of Twenty20s in Florida starting on June 30 and finishes with two Tests in Antigua and Jamaica in late July and early August.

Wagner and the legspinner Tarun Nethula are the two uncapped members of the 15-man Test squad, which featured no major surprises and included all 11 men who played New Zealand's most recent Test. The selectors chose two wicketkeepers, Kruger van Wyk and BJ Watling, who will also serve as the backup batsmen for the two Tests.

The inclusion of Wagner, 26, will create some competition for places in the attack after he comfortably topped the Plunket Shield wickets tally with 46 victims at 26.32. Wagner was born in Pretoria and started his first-class career in South Africa before moving to New Zealand and making his Otago debut in 2008-09.

He was also the leading Plunket Shield wicket-taker in 2010-11, and it was no surprise that he was rushed in to the squad immediately after the ICC confirmed last month that Wagner had qualified to play for New Zealand.

Less expected was the decision to rest McCullum for the ODIs and Twenty20s, with BJ Watling to take the gloves in both formats having recovered from a hip injury. The national selection manager Kim Littlejohn said with such a busy period coming up for New Zealand it was important to manage player workloads.

"We asked Brendon McCullum to take a break during the short-form component of the tour," Littlejohn said. "The team is about to embark on a heavy programme of international cricket and we will need to sensibly manage the workload of our players.

"This also allows other very talented cricketers to get an opportunity and for us to continue to build depth across our squads. Going forward we are looking to identify opportunities for other players, such as Doug Bracewell, Martin Guptill and Kane Williamson, to take a bit of time out and freshen up.

"James Franklin will also miss the tour. We see James as a key part of our Twenty20 squad going forward and have worked with him to organise a stint playing for Essex in the county Twenty20 competition. With the ICC World Tweny20 coming up we felt the best preparation for James would be to play a large number of Twenty20 matches in that competition rather than two matches in this tour."

Jacob Oram has returned to the limited-overs squads after recovering from a calf injury and the batsman Tom Latham has been given an opportunity in both the ODI and Twenty20 outfits. The tour consists of two Twenty20s, five ODIs and two Tests.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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  • Ross on May 5, 2012, 7:51 GMT

    @FatBoysCanBat - you say Wessels was just one of a few South Africans who played for Australia. Perhaps you'd like to name another? There is a world of difference between people like Wessels, Lamb, the Smiths, the Greigs etc (all of whom apart from Wessels played for 'England') who had no opportunity to play for their 'real' country and the current batch. Even so, Wessels faced considerable opposition within Australian cricket. Rather less opposition faced those who played for 'England'.

  • Dummy4 on May 4, 2012, 22:22 GMT

    @FatBoysCanBAT and @Benjamin Bruce-Campbell Hart Thanks for clearing up the consecutive days. It makes me feel a little better. I am an immigrant to NZ myself and have great pride in our country. I just want to see the entire team being proud kiwis too!

  • Ryan on May 4, 2012, 13:17 GMT

    I think we also have to take into consideration that Astle has done the majority [over 50%] of his bowling on the best batting pitch in NZ - Mainpower Oval in Rangiora which is literally a road. Whilst Nethula has bowled a lot on helpful pitches at McLean park and Nelson park.

  • Ryan on May 4, 2012, 13:17 GMT

    @vaughanw: I'm glad someone else has noticed Matt Henry. 37 wickets @ 18.51 in 9 matches. He does seem to have the goods. I also like the fact we are talking about leg spinners in NZ. I would however dis-regard your wicket/match ratio because Todd Astle made his first-class debut in 2005 as an opening batsman who barely bowled and it wasn't until he bowled Canterbury to victory in the 2008 State Championship that he started to take his bowling seriously [from memory after that match he had only taken 13 wickets in first-class cricket and averaged over 45 with the ball] which is evidenced by his far better average than Nethula. So from the start of the 2009 season and given the fact that he could only have played a maximum of 40 matches [two matches vs each team over 4 seasons. And I know he has *missed a couple of those 40 games] his numbers are slightly better than Nethula's. Astle: 38* matches 114 wickets 3.00 wickets/match. Nethula: 31 matches 88 wickets 2.84 wickets/match. cont--^

  • Jayaesh on May 4, 2012, 12:19 GMT

    Isn't Watling strike rate too low for T-20 and odi cricket ?.

  • Peter on May 4, 2012, 11:08 GMT

    That Jesse Ryder is not in the squad I can understand, I don't agree with it but I understand the thinking.

    That James Franklin is not a permanent member of the squad in all formats is just insane. MCullam drops the gloves and is given the opening spot. Franklin can still bowl well and gets dropped? Franklin is the better bat... it just makes no sense.

    He is quite possibly New Zealands best cricketer and it genuinely makes me sad that the NZ cricket selectors cant see that. They are running out of time with Jimmy.

    Give him a contract, give him consistency, and he will pay dividends....

    Please NZ cricket, give Jimmy the spot he deserves.. he's a no.5 bat in tests, and number 4 in one dayers, hes an anywhere in 20/20's plus he can still swing the ball.....

    I just dont get it..

  • jared on May 4, 2012, 8:34 GMT

    @FatBoysCanBat- i know those quicks i mentioned are inexperienced but i just want someone to bowl fast and take the wicket out of the equation, the three i mentioned are probably the only guys in the country who can hurry up good batsman on slow dusty wickets, they might get punished but you couldn't say we didn't go for the throat. As for Chris Martin being over rated the guys they have tried like Doug Bracewell, Gillespie and evenTrent Boult to a lesser degree have performed better . he cant contribute with the bat and his feilding is woefull as well, fair enough he's done a job with the ball i just think there are better players than him, for example Wagner

  • Dummy4 on May 4, 2012, 8:26 GMT

    Well done Neil, best of luck!

    To those judging NZ for picking him, remember Australia picked Brendan Julian (from NZ), England picked Andrew Caddick (from NZ) and Ben Stokes (from NZ) is on the rise there too.

    It has happened a lot in general all around the world, and good on Neil for earning his chance here. Great seeing someone work so hard getting success.

    Judging by the squad, I'm guessing this will be the team on a dry wicket:

    Flynn Guptil McCullum Taylor Brownlee Vetorri Watling Bracewell Wagner Nethula Martin

    Though my gut feeling tells me Van Wyk is a better bat and keeper than Watling, though I think NZC prefers Watling's youth and longer term potential.

    Gillespie would be hard done by to miss out, given his last 2 tests, but just can't see where he'd fit unless we only go with the one spinner. He could take Bracewell's spot too i guess.

    Vettori needs runs at #6.

    Hope they play Wagner, especially on dry wickets where reverse swing will be helpful.

  • Ryan on May 4, 2012, 6:01 GMT

    @RandyOZ: Kepler Wessels born in South Africa September 14 1957...Made his Test debut for Australia November 26 1982...played 24 tests for Australia scoring 1761 runs including 4 centuries at an average of 43...He is just one of a few South Africans to play for Australia. You may argue this is because South Africa weren't playing cricket at the time - and you would be right - but you can't forget that the South Africans playing for England and NZ were unwanted by the South African system and affected by the quota system which is a part of the majority of South African sports. So change the record mate, everybody is tired of hearing your "United XI" comments. Remember England and NZ are not alone in selecting South Africans for their national side.

  • Ryan on May 4, 2012, 5:45 GMT

    @Daniel Segura: The criteria is not 183 days in each year, it is 183 CONSECUTIVE days in each of four years. He had two trips out of NZ in the last four years...one back to SA for his brother's wedding [which from my understanding he still spent 183 straight days in NZ that year] and the other was with the Otago team for the Champion's League in 2009 [which won't count against him because he was playing an ICC-backed tournament]. So the answer to both of your 'questions' is no.

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