McCullum, Southee rested for Africa tour
Brendon McCullum and Tim Southee have been rested for New Zealand's limited-overs tour to Zimbabwe and South Africa. Ish Sodhi has been included for the Zimbabwe leg, while Doug Bracewell will replace the legspinner in South Africa. Adam Milne and James Neesham have made comebacks after long injury lay-offs in the 15-man squad to be led by Kane Williamson, with Colin Munro also recalled.
"We think Ish will be useful on pitches which tend to be slow and take turn, and against a Zimbabwe team stacked with right-handers", said Mike Hesson, the New Zealand coach and selector.
"But we're unlikely to need a third spinner in South Africa, which is why we've opted for another seamer in Doug."
Sodhi has represented New Zealand in 11 Tests and two T20Is but is yet to play an ODI, while the last of Bracewell's seven ODIs came in June 2013. Milne had been out since the World Cup quarterfinal against West Indies with a heel injury, and Neesham has not played international cricket since the Basin Reserve Test against Sri Lanka in January.
Corey Anderson and Trent Boult were not available after pulling out during the England tour with stress-related back problems. Hesson said that while the absence of several frontline players meant opportunities for the others, it would not reduce the sense of expectation around the squad.
"There are chances there for batsmen such as Tom and Colin, for Ish and for a handful of bowlers. And, not least, it's another good opportunity for Kane Williamson to continue upskilling in terms of leadership."
"This is a team which has built up an impressive record on the international circuit in recent times and the expectation is that we continue to perform, regardless of who might be missing.
"We were also without some key players on last summer's away series against Pakistan, and still managed to win 3-2 thanks to other players stepping up.
"Our focus is on continuing to produce strong team performances, rather than be distracted by the presence or absence of specific individuals."
New Zealand play three ODIs and a T20I in Zimbabwe starting August 2 before travelling to South Africa for two T20Is and three ODIs. The majority of the squad will assemble at a training camp in Potchefstroom before heading to Harare.