Wright defends playing extra batsman

Jamie How cuts loose during practice AFP

John Wright, the New Zealand coach, has defended the team's decision to pick Jamie How ahead of allrounder Jacob Oram and Kyle Mills in the defeat against Australia in Nagpur. New Zealand went in with an extra specialist batsman with How, a regular opener who was dropped down to No.7, making 22 in his team's score of 206.

The match was New Zealand's first major fixture of this World Cup and Wright, while acknowledging the ploy didn't pay off, said the team had decided to strengthen its batting against a potent Australian pace attack. "We wanted to strengthen our batting because we knew Australia would come at us with pace on a number of fronts," Wright said of How's inclusion. "Particularly around that secondary ball, we thought it would be nice to have a guy who can play pace well and Jamie is a very good player of pace to counter that.

"But it didn't work, did it?"

Wright confirmed Mills was fit for the game, and said he will get his chance against Zimbabwe on March 4 in New Zealand's next fixture. "Kyle's back to full fitness. He's trained well the last two days, but we felt that the two pace bowlers and two spinners against Australia was the right option so he'll get his opportunity in the next game."