Black Caps recall ironic for Peter Fulton
Ross Taylor's disastrous week, which yesterday culminated in New Zealand's best batsman opting out of the tour to South Africa, has a silver lining for Canterbury's Peter Fulton.
Black Caps coach Mike Hesson yesterday confirmed Fulton was a late call-up to the New Zealand test team as a direct replacement for Taylor.
Fulton, 33, wasn't worried how his return to the national side - three years since he last played for New Zealand - came about.
"I really couldn't care less," he said. "I'm just really excited about having another opportunity."
He's technically a better batsman than he was the last time he played for New Zealand, partly because he has to be now that he opens the batting, but he said enjoying his cricket and reduced stress made a big difference too.
"It's pretty ironic," he said.
"I'd come to accept the fact that even though I still wanted to, I might never get an opportunity to play for New Zealand again. So I put less pressure on myself and that seems to have worked."
Fulton, who has played 49 ODIs, 10 tests and 11 T20 games for New Zealand, is in the form of his life this season.
He has scored 504 runs in four first-class matches at an average of 72. He has scored three centuries and passed 50 five times from eight visits to the crease.
Hesson said Fulton's weight of early season runs and his experience made his selection "an easy decision".
Fulton obviously hoped he could carry on his domestic form into the test arena, but knew the South Africans on their own hard and fast tracks were about as tough a challenge as a batsman could get.
Hesson told Fulton he should prepare to bat anywhere in the order.
The Canterbury skipper was one of a number of changes to both the test and Twenty20 sides.
Dean Brownlie has returned to the test side and Kruger van Wyk has been dumped in favour of BJ Watling while both Todd Astle and Rob Nicol were dropped.
Yesterday, Hesson said that if the side had any intention of playing two spinners, Astle would have been considered because he did a fine job in Sri Lanka, but his replacement, Auckland's Bruce Martin, was there as cover for the side's Jeetan Patel and would play only if Patel fell over.
Jacob Oram, Tim Southee and Andrew Ellis were all unavailable for the Twenty20 leg of the tour. Ellis has a side strain while Oram and Southee have children about to be born. Former Canterbury all-rounder Corey Anderson, Derek de Boorder, Mitchell McClenaghan, Colin Munro and Jimmy Neesham were all selected in the T20 side for the first time.