Ross Taylor named in NZ XI to face England
Axed Black Caps captain Ross Taylor is poised to make his return to international cricket, after being named in a New Zealand XI to play the touring English in Whangarei next month.
Taylor, who withdrew from the Black Caps side to tour South Africa after being effectively stripped of the side's captaincy, has been included in a 14-man squad to play two warm-up Twenty20 matches on February 4 and February 6 at Cobham Oval.
It is likely Taylor has been named to give him some time at the crease before the series proper starts on February 9.
"Obviously it's great to have Ross back in the mix and really we're excited about seeing him play again,'' national selection manager Kim Littlejohn said.
''He's a proven world-class batsman and this will provide him with a great chance to get some cricket under his belt following his break."
Former Australian international Luke Ronchi, who is now eligible to play for New Zealand, Otago opener Hamish Rutherford, left-arm seamer Neil Wagner and Auckland slugger Colin Munro are other notable names in the side.
''Nearly all of the team have previous experience on the international stage, while the likes of Nick Beard, Matt Henry, Anton Devcich and Hamish Rutherford get their first chance after showing considerable promise on the domestic scene,'' Littlejohn said.
"We're pleased to have Luke Ronchi available as well and after a great HRV Cup we look forward to watching him continue to make an impact.
"We're confident all of the players in the squad will relish the chance to play against England, with the matches a great opportunity for them to push for higher honours."
After the two warm-up games, England play their first international Twenty20 against New Zealand on February 9 at Eden Park in Auckland.
New Zealand XI: Andrew Ellis (captain), Anton Devcich, Colin Munro, Hamish Rutherford, Ian Butler, Jimmy Neesham, Luke Ronchi, Matthew Henry, Michael Bates, Neil Broom, Neil Wagner, Nick Beard, Ross Taylor, Tom Latham.