Todd Astle gets New Zealand test call-up
The career statistics component of the selection pie won't get the pulse racing but the selectors have gone with recent wicket-taking form in picking Canterbury legspinner Todd Astle for New Zealand's upcoming cricket tour of Sri Lanka.
Astle is the only new cap in the squads named today - he has been included in a 15-strong test lineup for two matches against Sri Lanka, in Galle and Colombo next month, which follow a Twenty20 and five one-day internationals.
The bare figures of his 55-match first-class career don't paint the most overwhelming of pictures; the 26-year-old has taken 127 wickets at 34.79 and averages 22.39 with the bat since his debut in late-2005.
But his bowling has certainly been on the improve during the past two seasons, having claimed 68 wickets in 19 matches and proven himself capable off dismissing the country's best batsmen.
National selection manager Kim Littlejohn said his selection was a result of ''consistent performances over a number of seasons'', adding the selectors felt Astle had the ability to contribute in all three facets of the game.
He replaces Central Districts legspinner Tarun Nethula, who has been told to return to first-class cricket to get overs under his belt and stake his claim for reselection.
Canterbury batsman Rob Nicol gets another opportunity in the purist form the of the game, earning a recall after being dropped following an inauspicious start to his test career, totalling 28 runs from two tests.
Aucklander opener Martin Guptill and CD allrounder Doug Bracewell have both been omitted from the limited overs squad, the latter to work on ''technical issues''.
''As part of the on-going management of player workload we have decided to rest Martin Guptill for the T20 and ODI matches so he can refresh for the upcoming international commitments,'' Littlejohn said.
''Doug Bracewell will miss the short-form matches so he can spend some time working on a few minor technical issues with his action. The best approach is to spend time getting things right in domestic four-day cricket ahead of the test series.''
Auckland left-arm spinner Roneel Hira and CD speedster Adam Milne get further opportunities.
''We have been impressed by the development of both players and they offer the side something a bit different,'' Littlejohn said.
The ODI and Twenty20 squad includes 12 players who featured in the recent World Twenty20 Cup along with Trent Boult, Andrew Ellis and Tom Latham, who played in the last ODI series against the West Indies.
BJ Watling will keep wickets for the limited overs matches while Kruger van Wyk gets the nod for the tests.
''He has spent a lot of time touring but has had limited opportunities to play and we believe it is best for his development if he's made available for the upcoming Plunket Shield fixtures,'' Littlejohn said.
Daniel Vettori has not recovered sufficiently from an Achilles injury and was not considered.
NEW ZEALAND SQUADS
ODI and Twenty20 squad: Ross Taylor (c), Trent Boult, Andrew Ellis, James Franklin, Roneel Hira, Rob Nicol, Tom Latham, Brendon McCullum, Nathan McCullum, Kyle Mills, Adam Milne, Jacob Oram, Tim Southee, BJ Watling, Kane Williamson.
Test squad: Ross Taylor (c), Todd Astle, Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Daniel Flynn, James Franklin, Martin Guptill, Chris Martin, Brendon McCullum, Rob Nicol, Jeetan Patel, Tim Southee, Kruger van Wyk, Neil Wagner, Kane Williamson.
SRI LANKAN TOUR SCHEDULE
October 30 - Twenty20 international, Pallekele
November 1 - 1st ODI, Pallekele
November 4 - 2nd ODI, Colombo
November 6 - 3rd ODI, Colombo
November 10 - 4th ODI, Hambantota
November 12 - 5th ODI, Hambantota
November 17-21 - 1st test, Galle
November 25-29 - 2nd test, Colombo
- © Fairfax NZ News
Will the Black Caps win the second test at Headlingley?