New Zealand news April 15, 2014

Ronchi, Craig in New Zealand Test squad

ESPNcricinfo staff
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Wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi and offspinner Mark Craig will be hoping for Test debuts on New Zealand's tour of the West Indies after being named in a 15-man squad for the three-Test series in June. The unexpected call-up for Craig came after Jeetan Patel was reportedly told he was in the squad but made himself unavailable so he could focus on a full season for Warwickshire and be with his wife and baby, who are based with him in the UK.

In a statement, New Zealand Cricket said Patel was unavailable for "personal reasons", while the team will again be without Daniel Vettori, who felt his bowling loads were not yet up to the intensity of Test cricket. The selectors did not consider Jesse Ryder or Doug Bracewell, declaring that they were "yet to satisfy the selectors that they have their off-field issues under control".

There was still room for opener Peter Fulton despite his run of low scores over the home summer - after a first-innings 61 against West Indies in Dunedin he managed only 3, 6, 11, 10, 13, 5, 13 and 1 in the remaining home Tests. Tom Latham was included but coach Mike Hesson stressed it was as a batting back-up only, with Ronchi the reserve gloveman to BJ Watling.

Ronchi, who turns 33 next week, has been a regular member of New Zealand's limited-overs squads since moving from Australia and qualifying for his birth country in 2013. However, he is yet to be given a chance in Test cricket, and Hesson said Ronchi would also provide middle-order batting cover "as he's a good player of spin bowling".

The biggest surprise was the inclusion of Craig, who at 27 has played only 22 first-class matches for Otago since making his debut in February 2011. An offspinner who finished the Plunket Shield season with 22 wickets at 39.72, Craig was described by Hesson as a man who had been in the sights of the selectors for some time and whose spin "will be valuable against their left-handed heavy top-order batting line-up".

The absence of Vettori was not a great surprise given that he has not bowled a ball since returning home from a BBL stint with the Brisbane Heat. Vettori had been gradually increasing his workload and had played four Plunket Shield matches earlier in the season but he struggled with a back problem following the BBL.

New Zealand's tour begins with two tour matches in Jamaica starting late next month, followed by Tests in Jamaica, Trinidad and Guyana throughout June. A pair of Twenty20 matches will follow.

"While we gained a convincing 2-0 Test series victory against the West Indies in December, they'll be a totally different proposition in their conditions," Hesson said. "They'll have the added motivation to perform well in the first match which will be Chris Gayle's 100th Test."

Test squad Peter Fulton, Hamish Rutherford, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Brendon McCullum (capt), Tom Latham, Corey Anderson, BJ Watling, Luke Ronchi, Jimmy Neesham, Mark Craig, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult, Ish Sodhi.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY on | April 20, 2014, 22:11 GMT

    sorry to say but id use neesham only as injury cover for a batsman, id keep with wagner unless pitch deems otherwise and use craig in short bursts kind of like williamson to ease him in and bowl sodhi from a end for a long period unless boult and southee wraps up the batsmen quickly

  • POSTED BY Min2000 on | April 20, 2014, 1:58 GMT

    Rutherford, Latham, Williamson, Taylor, McCullum*, Anderson, Watling+, Neesham, Sodhi, Southee, Boult

    Hate to drop Wagner but Jimmy bowls quick and smashes hundreds. Done deal.

  • POSTED BY regofpicton on | April 18, 2014, 11:51 GMT

    Long term thinking it really isn't, is it?. Fulton & Elliot are both 35. For how much longer will they be considered developing prospects?

  • POSTED BY bighit12 on | April 18, 2014, 4:57 GMT

    I think the selectors are thinking longer term than most of us in the armchairs. I'd imagine that most of the ones that people are wondering why they have kept their spots are having their last chance to prove themselves. I'd agree that Craig is a spin of the dice... and pointless. If you wanted an offspinner, why doesn't Nathan McCullum get a go? Sure Craig has guts to get over the severe medical condition he had, but that isn't enough in my book.

  • POSTED BY regofpicton on | April 17, 2014, 8:23 GMT

    To one cricklyoldbugger from another, you are absolutely right. Comparing the very successful players that don't make it, with the distinctly average players that do, is just baffling. You mention Franklin, who had a great domestic season AND has ample experience a proven record internationally, but . . . "no thanks!"

    However, lack of space means you have to focus, and every time i say what i really think i get edited out.

  • POSTED BY Crinklyoldbugger on | April 17, 2014, 7:46 GMT

    Regofpicton ..you make a good point about whether the selectors ( Hesson and Edgar ) ever see the domestic game in NZ. Certainly they take performance in the domestic into account when making their selections. What about Pollard and Franklin from Wgt plus a few others around the country. How can Elliot and Munro hold their spots ? Domestically they didn't figure.

  • POSTED BY on | April 17, 2014, 1:19 GMT

    Time for Vettori to go. Even though i went to school with him in Hamilton I can see at 35 he has limited potential anymore. His back is stuffed and he needs to retire with grace.

    It shows the total lack of depth for openers in NZC that Peter Fulton has made the cut again. Averaging 10 in 8 innings his time is definitely up.

    Feel for Ryder. If he wasn't an alcoholic he would be opening instead of Fulton. One can only hope in time he gets the help he needs to overcome his disease. At 29 he is approaching the end. test average of 40+ he will become one of NZ's greatest wasted talents.

  • POSTED BY regofpicton on | April 16, 2014, 22:58 GMT

    I wonder, do the selectors "follow NZ cricket"? The idea that they have been watching Mark Craig for some years as a potential international player is surprising, and that he is now considered to be fulfilling that potential is utterly baffling. In fact his "improvement" has been such that he was dropped by Otago for the last Shield game after his 0 for 89 against Auckland. In 1st class season Craig took 22 wickets in 17 innings @ 40; Astle 37 in 16 @ 30 & Nathan 14 in 8 @ 32.Good luck to the young man, but he's been given a hospital pass.

    Though Guptill might be "a white ball player", that didn't stop him scoring 672 red ball runs @ 74.66 during the season, putting his average 2nd to Tom Latham with 948 runs @ 79. But then Latham wasn't picked either!

    And as for Ryder "not being selectable", Otago managed to get 776 runs out of him @ 59.69, and I don't remember there being any dramas involved. Perhaps the Otago management should be given an advisory role in the national "team"?

  • POSTED BY electric_loco_WAP4 on | April 16, 2014, 8:00 GMT

    Any spinner NZ pick will be assured bagful of W on slow,spinning WI pitches vs bunch of bats of hosts clueless v spin.Most of them being LHBs will be even better-him being offie.NZ should easily thrash no.8 home side 2/3-0.N Mcullum should've been chosen.

  • POSTED BY D-Ascendant on | April 16, 2014, 6:06 GMT

    Left-arm spinner Mark Haslam was picked to tour Zimbabwe in 1992 following just five first class games. His NZ career fizzled out shortly after it began... Mark Craig's selection looks similarly random. I hope he doesn't go Haslam's way!

  • POSTED BY on | April 20, 2014, 22:11 GMT

    sorry to say but id use neesham only as injury cover for a batsman, id keep with wagner unless pitch deems otherwise and use craig in short bursts kind of like williamson to ease him in and bowl sodhi from a end for a long period unless boult and southee wraps up the batsmen quickly

  • POSTED BY Min2000 on | April 20, 2014, 1:58 GMT

    Rutherford, Latham, Williamson, Taylor, McCullum*, Anderson, Watling+, Neesham, Sodhi, Southee, Boult

    Hate to drop Wagner but Jimmy bowls quick and smashes hundreds. Done deal.

  • POSTED BY regofpicton on | April 18, 2014, 11:51 GMT

    Long term thinking it really isn't, is it?. Fulton & Elliot are both 35. For how much longer will they be considered developing prospects?

  • POSTED BY bighit12 on | April 18, 2014, 4:57 GMT

    I think the selectors are thinking longer term than most of us in the armchairs. I'd imagine that most of the ones that people are wondering why they have kept their spots are having their last chance to prove themselves. I'd agree that Craig is a spin of the dice... and pointless. If you wanted an offspinner, why doesn't Nathan McCullum get a go? Sure Craig has guts to get over the severe medical condition he had, but that isn't enough in my book.

  • POSTED BY regofpicton on | April 17, 2014, 8:23 GMT

    To one cricklyoldbugger from another, you are absolutely right. Comparing the very successful players that don't make it, with the distinctly average players that do, is just baffling. You mention Franklin, who had a great domestic season AND has ample experience a proven record internationally, but . . . "no thanks!"

    However, lack of space means you have to focus, and every time i say what i really think i get edited out.

  • POSTED BY Crinklyoldbugger on | April 17, 2014, 7:46 GMT

    Regofpicton ..you make a good point about whether the selectors ( Hesson and Edgar ) ever see the domestic game in NZ. Certainly they take performance in the domestic into account when making their selections. What about Pollard and Franklin from Wgt plus a few others around the country. How can Elliot and Munro hold their spots ? Domestically they didn't figure.

  • POSTED BY on | April 17, 2014, 1:19 GMT

    Time for Vettori to go. Even though i went to school with him in Hamilton I can see at 35 he has limited potential anymore. His back is stuffed and he needs to retire with grace.

    It shows the total lack of depth for openers in NZC that Peter Fulton has made the cut again. Averaging 10 in 8 innings his time is definitely up.

    Feel for Ryder. If he wasn't an alcoholic he would be opening instead of Fulton. One can only hope in time he gets the help he needs to overcome his disease. At 29 he is approaching the end. test average of 40+ he will become one of NZ's greatest wasted talents.

  • POSTED BY regofpicton on | April 16, 2014, 22:58 GMT

    I wonder, do the selectors "follow NZ cricket"? The idea that they have been watching Mark Craig for some years as a potential international player is surprising, and that he is now considered to be fulfilling that potential is utterly baffling. In fact his "improvement" has been such that he was dropped by Otago for the last Shield game after his 0 for 89 against Auckland. In 1st class season Craig took 22 wickets in 17 innings @ 40; Astle 37 in 16 @ 30 & Nathan 14 in 8 @ 32.Good luck to the young man, but he's been given a hospital pass.

    Though Guptill might be "a white ball player", that didn't stop him scoring 672 red ball runs @ 74.66 during the season, putting his average 2nd to Tom Latham with 948 runs @ 79. But then Latham wasn't picked either!

    And as for Ryder "not being selectable", Otago managed to get 776 runs out of him @ 59.69, and I don't remember there being any dramas involved. Perhaps the Otago management should be given an advisory role in the national "team"?

  • POSTED BY electric_loco_WAP4 on | April 16, 2014, 8:00 GMT

    Any spinner NZ pick will be assured bagful of W on slow,spinning WI pitches vs bunch of bats of hosts clueless v spin.Most of them being LHBs will be even better-him being offie.NZ should easily thrash no.8 home side 2/3-0.N Mcullum should've been chosen.

  • POSTED BY D-Ascendant on | April 16, 2014, 6:06 GMT

    Left-arm spinner Mark Haslam was picked to tour Zimbabwe in 1992 following just five first class games. His NZ career fizzled out shortly after it began... Mark Craig's selection looks similarly random. I hope he doesn't go Haslam's way!

  • POSTED BY choppa13 on | April 16, 2014, 4:58 GMT

    Wow this is probably the first time in a very long time that Brendon hasn't been the main target in a forum on cricinfo after the naming of a NZ team. Lol. Anyway I to like the idea of giving Nathan a go but it wouldn't exactly be looking towards the future and imagine all the hesson haters with that ammunition of picking him. Lets face it we don't have 1 good spinner let alone 2. Hope mark Craig does well if given a chance but with sodhi and Kane as back up can't see there being a huge need for him. Ronchi is as good a middle order batter this country has his stats have been good over the past few years more so in first class then limited overs. Ad for Fulton the less said the better he can't score runs on NZ tracks against w.i or India what makes the selectors think he can on spin friendly pitches. Just an idea , Neesham in as opener so as that it gets him and Corey in the team he can't be any worse than Fulton. And Latham in for Rutherford.

  • POSTED BY The-Stoat on | April 16, 2014, 4:30 GMT

    Agreed with the other commenters... a couple of odd selections. If they wanted a spinner Astle surely would have been the pick - he was second highest wicket taker in the plunker shield. Yes a number of these wickets were in the same game, but exclude that and he still comes out best. As for Ronchi - surely Michael Papps, Michael Bracewell or Craig Cachopa should be in before him? I would have Fulton (and possibly Rutherford) Ronchi and Craig out, and put Papps, M Bracewell, Cr Cachopa and Astle in. Winning team.

  • POSTED BY SladeR on | April 16, 2014, 1:38 GMT

    Mark Craig a test-class spinner? Been in the sights of the selectors for some time? I know Hesson wears glasses but for pity sake, change the prescription. A spinner who averages 2 wickets per match, at over 40 runs per wicket is not going to cut it in test cricket.

  • POSTED BY on | April 16, 2014, 1:21 GMT

    I know it's probably an unpopular thought of mine, but I'm surprised that Craig was picked ahead of Nathan McCullum. He's got proven international form, albeit at shorter forms of the game, and can be a match-winner both with the ball and with his excellent fielding. It's about time he was given his chance at the 5 day game.

  • POSTED BY Jordanious77 on | April 16, 2014, 0:57 GMT

    I have a few points to make with the naming of this team..

    Todd Astle > Craig. Craig is okay at domestic level, but even then he doesn't have the ability that Todd Astle has. I think the Windies will pick him apart.

    Having Williamson in the team would mean NZ would have 2 spinners regardless of if Craig plays, which is why I think we would have been better off selecting a strike-spin bowler. Astle is probably our most attacking spin bowler, Sodhi get's a lot of turn but Astle picks up a lot of wickets on a turning track. he can be unplayable!! So surely it makes sense to bring him into the team rather than Craig who in all honesty will be lucky to be holding up 1 end.

    Fulton deserves one last shot, but this is definately his final chance.

    I'm a little disappointed thatHenry or Cr.Cachopa have been given a go. Especially because Ronchi is just a wasted space in the team.

    Fulton/Latham, Rutherford, Willy, Taylor, McCullum, Anderson, Watling, Neesham/Craig, Sodhi, Southee, Boult

  • POSTED BY on | April 15, 2014, 20:22 GMT

    What happened to Todd Astle??? He was looking so promising...

  • POSTED BY ketaann on | April 15, 2014, 17:02 GMT

    why NZC always picked 1 or 2 uncapped players?? Vettori's int. Career is almost over.

  • POSTED BY Robster1 on | April 15, 2014, 13:22 GMT

    Such a shame that Ryder couldn't be selected - so much talent, what a waste.

  • POSTED BY on | April 15, 2014, 12:42 GMT

    I have to say the selectors must be on crack. Why after a very sweet home season would you select a touring test squad to WI with irrelevant options? Firstly, we have a number 1 ODI wicket keep and a number 1 test wicket keep. They for the record are two different players and are backed up in their respective codes by Baz. NZC, I'm sorry but you have wasted a spot for another player by selecting Ronchi - Watling owns the test role. Secondly, respect to Fulton on his test tons against England, but lets be honest here. He hasn't performed since and we need to give Guptill another shot. He has by in large a much better all round international record and is starting to own his game at 27 years old. Rutherford is also lucky to be in squad, but youth and aggression is good to stick with in modern test batting development. Alas no Ryder.. Guys, lets face it - Vettori is done at international test level (very sad as one of my fav players of all time). One last time at 2015 world cup we hope :)

  • POSTED BY camirapaul on | April 15, 2014, 9:22 GMT

    The pitches are going to take spin, so that is the reason Henry or Gillespie aren't going. The squad isn't that bad when you consider, the problem is we just don't have any quality spinners, they have to invest time in Sodhi and i think Craig is basically a toss of the coin since no one else is sticking their hands up. i,m confused with Vettori though, when does he exactly think we will be returning, maybe its time to retire, but this slow death is just frustrating. Fulton is lucky really, their is no way they could have left out Latham who i hope they start the tests with. I mean what do they gain out of starting with Fulton, a great domestic player, but he's 36 and a journeyman, why not look to the future. And also the selection of both Anderson and Neesham is interesting, why two allrounders, can you leave out Neesham after his last test, the test eleven could be interesting. My team 1st test. Latham,Rutherford,Williamson,Taylor,McCullum,Watling,Neesham,Sodhi,Southee,Boult,Craig

  • POSTED BY kiwicricketnut on | April 15, 2014, 7:56 GMT

    these selectors have been pretty bold of late with some good selections of new talent but then they do stuff that makes you wonder if they know what they're doing, why ronchi? watling is going to keep and latham is a more than capable back up, ronchi's spot should have gone to matt henry who in my opinion is in the top 3 bowlers in the country and would be one of the few seamers to get anything out of windies pitches, why fulton? he can't seem to play his way out of the team no matter how hard he trys, latham should open and fultons spot should of gone to craig cachopa who domestically looks the best player of spin with good first class stats to back his selection as batting cover and he can't even make the A side? jeetan patel forced the selectors hand in the spin department and if he would rather play county cricket than for his country then he should be gone for good both internationally and domestically give his spot to someone who dreams of playing for nz, what a pea heart

  • POSTED BY on | April 15, 2014, 7:47 GMT

    excuse me Ragunathan Natarajan, u dont follow nz cricket do u? Guptill a white ball player and as for Mitch Mcclenaghan hes only played a handful of first class games he carnt even play 3 dayers let alone 5 and i might add trent boult far better red ball bowler, team not to bad , stil carnt see how we can have both Corey and Jimmy in the same test team

  • POSTED BY PrasPunter on | April 15, 2014, 7:31 GMT

    All-right, the real one starts !! Nobody cares about the deeds in those hit-and-run formats .

  • POSTED BY dogandbone on | April 15, 2014, 7:15 GMT

    I really struggle to understand some of these selections...I say well done to those selected and good luck. One of the most successful first class batsman in the country this year cant even make the NZA tour ...Martin Guptill.. I know there has been a lot of talk about spin but I feel the best spinners in NZ are those running the show. Mates selecting mates....

  • POSTED BY Crinklyoldbugger on | April 15, 2014, 5:29 GMT

    Astle got 14 of his wickets in one game on a dust bowl that my granny could have got a five for. Stats alone don't tell the story...if they did the 2 squads would be a lot different. It is very hard to understand what the selectors are thinking when they name Elliot ahead of Franklin and Ellis in the A squad. Elliot is in the same general age group as those 2 but statistically this last season well below those 2. Crazy stuff from the selectors again.

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | April 15, 2014, 4:42 GMT

    What has peter Fulton done to earn selection, he will fail again as will Rutherford. Latham better be playing ahead of Fulton as Latham is a talented young player while Fulton scores a dozen runs at best with a strike rate around 30. I don't understand why mark Craig has been included over todd astle. Astle has been in solid form with the ball unlike craig who will b slaughtered. How can he be included just because he bowls off spin. I like Sodhi but astle has been bowling better than him recently and mark craig is a joke. Craigs selection is infuriating to say minimal. I know Baz just got our first 300 but could he open in place of fulton so neesham and anderson can play so we go in with 4 pace bowlers and 2 spinners. If we go with 2 spinners and a very possible scenario of them slaughtered, we will have 3 bowlers plus Williamson.

  • POSTED BY Crinklyoldbugger on | April 15, 2014, 4:34 GMT

    no way Todd Astle should be there. Mind you if you look across both the squads (BCs and A s) then it is just another Otago product getting the call up from their former coach.

  • POSTED BY on | April 15, 2014, 4:22 GMT

    What happened to Guptill and MJ McClenaghan?

  • POSTED BY aby_97 on | April 15, 2014, 4:14 GMT

    New zealand can struggle due to lack of spinning options.They should look to bring in a good spinner before getting tagged as a team which can perform only at home..Absence of Vettori is hurting them big time.

  • POSTED BY Sinhaya on | April 15, 2014, 2:58 GMT

    Very poor decision to include Peter Fulton. He has failed way too much. Michael Bracewell the cousin of Doug Bracewell should be played. Fulton has not even passed 20 in his last 8 test innings.

  • POSTED BY on | April 15, 2014, 2:37 GMT

    Wrong decision to retain Fulton in my view. What does Papps have to do to get a recall?

  • POSTED BY 512fm on | April 15, 2014, 1:20 GMT

    Todd Astle continues to get treated rather poorly, should be there instead of Sodhi to be perfectly honest.

  • POSTED BY Antony_Lucas on | April 15, 2014, 1:17 GMT

    Peter Fulton's selection really does defy belief. How can a test cap hold value to all those in and around the game in this country when people with his level of consistency continue to be selected? NZ are low-odds to come out on top in this series, and straight away they're on the back foot. Tom Latham, with 2 first class double centures in the past home season represents potential unseen for a number of years on the NZ domestic circuit for someone so young. A strong middle order for NZ, with the weak points in the squad being the opening batsmen and the spinners. Congrats to Mark Craig for his selection but a first-class bowling record that represents an average in the 40's is not really the way forward.

  • POSTED BY scottyg on | April 15, 2014, 1:04 GMT

    Looks like an interesting series, will be decided by how the NZ top order takes on the spin of the Windies- NZ may also struggle to get wickets in conditions that don't usually allow for swing

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  • POSTED BY scottyg on | April 15, 2014, 1:04 GMT

    Looks like an interesting series, will be decided by how the NZ top order takes on the spin of the Windies- NZ may also struggle to get wickets in conditions that don't usually allow for swing

  • POSTED BY Antony_Lucas on | April 15, 2014, 1:17 GMT

    Peter Fulton's selection really does defy belief. How can a test cap hold value to all those in and around the game in this country when people with his level of consistency continue to be selected? NZ are low-odds to come out on top in this series, and straight away they're on the back foot. Tom Latham, with 2 first class double centures in the past home season represents potential unseen for a number of years on the NZ domestic circuit for someone so young. A strong middle order for NZ, with the weak points in the squad being the opening batsmen and the spinners. Congrats to Mark Craig for his selection but a first-class bowling record that represents an average in the 40's is not really the way forward.

  • POSTED BY 512fm on | April 15, 2014, 1:20 GMT

    Todd Astle continues to get treated rather poorly, should be there instead of Sodhi to be perfectly honest.

  • POSTED BY on | April 15, 2014, 2:37 GMT

    Wrong decision to retain Fulton in my view. What does Papps have to do to get a recall?

  • POSTED BY Sinhaya on | April 15, 2014, 2:58 GMT

    Very poor decision to include Peter Fulton. He has failed way too much. Michael Bracewell the cousin of Doug Bracewell should be played. Fulton has not even passed 20 in his last 8 test innings.

  • POSTED BY aby_97 on | April 15, 2014, 4:14 GMT

    New zealand can struggle due to lack of spinning options.They should look to bring in a good spinner before getting tagged as a team which can perform only at home..Absence of Vettori is hurting them big time.

  • POSTED BY on | April 15, 2014, 4:22 GMT

    What happened to Guptill and MJ McClenaghan?

  • POSTED BY Crinklyoldbugger on | April 15, 2014, 4:34 GMT

    no way Todd Astle should be there. Mind you if you look across both the squads (BCs and A s) then it is just another Otago product getting the call up from their former coach.

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | April 15, 2014, 4:42 GMT

    What has peter Fulton done to earn selection, he will fail again as will Rutherford. Latham better be playing ahead of Fulton as Latham is a talented young player while Fulton scores a dozen runs at best with a strike rate around 30. I don't understand why mark Craig has been included over todd astle. Astle has been in solid form with the ball unlike craig who will b slaughtered. How can he be included just because he bowls off spin. I like Sodhi but astle has been bowling better than him recently and mark craig is a joke. Craigs selection is infuriating to say minimal. I know Baz just got our first 300 but could he open in place of fulton so neesham and anderson can play so we go in with 4 pace bowlers and 2 spinners. If we go with 2 spinners and a very possible scenario of them slaughtered, we will have 3 bowlers plus Williamson.

  • POSTED BY Crinklyoldbugger on | April 15, 2014, 5:29 GMT

    Astle got 14 of his wickets in one game on a dust bowl that my granny could have got a five for. Stats alone don't tell the story...if they did the 2 squads would be a lot different. It is very hard to understand what the selectors are thinking when they name Elliot ahead of Franklin and Ellis in the A squad. Elliot is in the same general age group as those 2 but statistically this last season well below those 2. Crazy stuff from the selectors again.