The chances of New Zealand making a change after their 40-run victory in the first Test in Auckland may appear slim but alterations to the squad were required after Jesse Ryder and Doug Bracewell were both unavailable for selection. Both men have been fined by New Zealand Cricket for misconduct after they were out drinking until 3am on the first morning of the Auckland Test.
Neither Ryder nor Bracewell were considered for the squad for the second Test due to their off-field behaviour. Neesham has been brought in as a replacement for Bracewell, while Latham has taken the place of Ryder as cover for Ross Taylor, who is awaiting the birth of his second child. If the baby is not born before the match starts, Latham will make his debut so Taylor can sit out.
"Tom's an incredibly exciting prospect and is constantly pushing for selection," Bruce Edgar, the general manager of national selection, said. "If called upon, we're confident that he'll take the opportunity with both hands."
Latham, 21, has played 13 one-day internationals and seven Twenty20s for his country but is yet to be called upon in Test cricket. Neesham, 23, has played 11 ODIs and five T20s for New Zealand and the selectors believe that although he is not necessarily a like-for-like replacement for Bracewell, he offers plenty with both bat and ball.
"We see Jimmy as a genuine all-rounder who can play a number of roles for us. His form with both bat and ball in the Plunket Shield this season speaks for itself," Edgar said. "We've been able to keep a settled side recently and strung together some successful results along the way. We hope to keep that going, but are well aware India will come back at us hard."
New Zealand squad Peter Fulton, Hamish Rutherford, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Brendon McCullum (capt), Corey Anderson, BJ Watling (wk), Tom Latham, Jimmy Neesham, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult.