Black Caps quick Adam Milne set to miss target of making ODI squad for India
Black Caps speed merchant Adam Milne is set to lose his race against time to be fit for next month's ODI series in India.
Both Milne and all-rounder Corey Anderson, fighting to finally overcome his back injury, have been named to play in three 50-over matches between a New Zealand XI and an Emerging Players XI at Lincoln, near Christchurch, next week.
While the latter will bowl and still appears an outside chance of proving his fitness after being ruled out the test squad named on Tuesday, the same can't be said for Milne.
The 24-year-old quick has been bowling in pre-season training with the Central Districts squad, but national selector Gavin Larsen indicated he would not be next week at Bert Sutcliffe Oval.
"Milney is just coming back from a wee tidy up elbow operation he had.
"He's travelling nicely and he's going to play in those games, but we are keen to keep expanding his batting game so he's going to play as a batsman.
"It's probably fair to say that it would be a stretch [he will make the squad for India]."
Capable of reaching 150km/h, Milne has battled a series of injuries since breaking into the Black Caps as an 18-year-old in 2010.
Missing the trip to India will be another blow after he had set those ODIs as his target for his first international appearance since the World T20 tournament in March.
He injured his hamstring in May, one match into his stint with Royal Challengers Bangalore in this year's IPL, and was then unable to join English county side Essex when he required elbow surgery.
Although far from guaranteed to demonstrate his health and make the ODI squad for India, Anderson's prospects look better.
His fitness appears a key reason the squad naming has been pushed back until after next week's matches, after originally being set at the same time as the test group.
Larsen kept his cards close to his chest when asked about the likelihood of Anderson's selection.
" We will monitor Corey like we'll watch everyone and assess where he is at after those games.
"It is the bowling obviously we are very keen to see Corey keep progressing in, to be getting back to being selectable as a genuine all-rounder.
"We are trying to get that on track as quick as possible."
Whether Anderson makes the squad or not, it will feature a number of players who were not present for New Zealand's last ODI matches, the 2-1 Chappell-Hadlee series win against Australia in February.
Former captain Brendon McCullum and all-rounder Grant Elliott are retired from ODIs, while batsman Ross Taylor, all-rounder Jimmy Neesham and seamers Tim Southee and Mitchell McClenaghan are back from injury and expected to be included.
Larsen hinted Central Districts opening batsman and part-time spinner George Worker, who showed good signs on last year's limited overs tour of Africa and is also playing at Lincoln next week, was a strong chance.
With the remainder of the 15-man squad likely set, that could leave just one berth up for grabs.
Southee's inclusion may leave Doug Bracewell, who played in the series-sealing win over Australia in Hamilton, battling for a place with Northern Districts spinning all-rounder Anton Devcich.
Also playing next week, Devcich has played 10 ODIs for the Black Caps, offers opening bat cover and could prove handy in the spin-friendly Indian conditions.
The continued rise of Auckland spinner/batsman Mark Chapman, who has played internationally for Hong Kong, in the national selectors eyes is displayed by his inclusion for the matches at Lincoln.
Possible NZ ODI squad for India: Trent Boult, Anton Devcich, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Mitchell McClenaghan, Colin Munro, Jimmy Neesham, Henry Nicholls, Luke Ronchi, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Kane Williamson (c), George Worker.
New Zealand XI vs Emerging Players XI teams:
NZ XI: George Worker (CD), Anton Devcich (ND), Will Young (CD, captain), Colin Munro (Auckland), Mark Chapman (Auckland), Adam Milne (CD), Tom Blundell (Wellington), Ben Wheeler (CD), Seth Rance (CD), Jacob Duffy (Otago), Hamish Bennett (Canterbury), Cameron Fletcher (Canterbury).
Emerging Players XI: Michael Bracewell (Otago, captain), Jeet Raval (Auckland), Robbie O'Donnell (Auckland), Corey Anderson (ND), Colin de Grandhomme (Auckland), Tim Seifert (ND), Shawn Hicks (Auckland), Todd Astle (Canterbury), Scott Kuggeleijn (ND), Matt Henry (Canterbury), Lockie Ferguson (Auckland), Edward Nuttall (Canterbury).
Monday, September 12: Bert Sutcliffe Oval, Lincoln
Tuesday, September 13: Bert Sutcliffe Oval, Lincoln
Thursday, September 15: Bert Sutcliffe Oval, Lincoln