Welcome headaches for NZ coach Mike Hesson

MARK GEENTY
Last updated 05:01 25/01/2014
Mike Hesson
Getty Images
DECISION TIME: Black Caps coach Mike Hesson has some tough selection calls to make.

Relevant offers

Cricket

Brian Lara suggests end to test draws to revive crowds Neil Wagner and Essex teammates show sportsmanship in withdrawing run-out appeal Adam Milne, Mitchell McClenaghan, Corey Anderson earn call-ups to New Zealand squad for Champions Trophy Colin de Grandhomme takes three wickets in record IPL performance Man of the match effort from Mitchell McClenaghan sets up Mumbai win in IPL Brendon McCullum claims orange cap as Gujarat Lions knock over Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL Brendon McCullum's new bat named Coup Ray after $12,000 auction bid for naming rights Mitchell McClenaghan gets the 'Big Show' treatment in the IPL Australian cricketer James Pattinson pinged for excessive appealing in county cricket Tim Southee joins Brendon McCullum and Daniel Vettori at Middlesex for T20 Blast

An embarrassment of riches and a winning team presents New Zealand coach and chief selector Mike Hesson some welcome headaches when he names his test squad tomorrow to face India.

Loyalty and consistency of selection has been a hallmark of Hesson's reign, though, which means the 11 who played in the Wellington and Hamilton victories over West Indies should all retain their spots in a 13-man squad.

Whether the 11 remains unchanged at Eden Park on February 6 is another matter, with Jesse Ryder and Hamish Bennett in the mix.

"It's a challenge to fit everybody in. As a coach and selection group that's the model you want; good players not playing. When we pick that first test side there will be players who have done well for us that won't make it. That's what we're after," Hesson said recently.

"We've won our last series 2-0 and pretty convincingly so for us to make change we'd have to have a pretty good reason for that."

Opener Peter Fulton is most at risk. After scoring 61 in Dunedin, he scored three, six, 11 and 10 against West Indies and scored 18 and 10 for Canterbury against Otago this week, leaving him vulnerable to team-mate Tom Latham who is putting a compelling case as an opener.

Ryder's availability presents the biggest head-scratcher. He should stroll into the squad, assuming Hesson sees him as more than a limited overs-only batsman, but where to fit him into the lineup is the question.

If Eden Park offers up a green seamer, as demanded by Hesson, then some shuffling could see Ryder slot in at No 6 and Fulton and Hamish Rutherford remain as the opening pair.

That would mean legspinner Ish Sodhi missing out on the 11 if conditions looked unlikely to suit him. Corey Anderson and gloveman BJ Watling would shift down a spot each.

Paceman Trent Boult's fitness is a slight query after he suffered a small tear to his left quadriceps in the third test win at Hamilton in late December.

He's played four T20 matches for Northern Districts since, then was kept on ice by New Zealand team management for the finals to have him ready for the two tests.

Wagner is the incumbent third seamer but went off the boil in the West Indies tests and hasn't set the world alight in domestic cricket since. Still it would be tough to drop him from the squad altogether, but leaves him vulnerable to a challenger in the playing 11.

That looked likely to be Adam Milne before he broke down, and now leaves newly-recalled ODI bowler Bennett at the head of the queue. Hesson picks on domestic form and Bennett fits that bill with 24 wickets from five first-class matches for Canterbury, and has proven his durability after back surgery.

Ad Feedback

Doug Bracewell was in the squad to play West Indies but never took the field and might be fighting to hold off Bennett. The 18-test seamer hasn't exactly demanded inclusion in domestic cricket, meaning the form horse could get the selection nod. 

- Fairfax Media

Special offers
Opinion poll

Should bouncers be banned from cricket?

Yes - they're too dangerous

Neutral - it is what it is

No - it's just bad luck when it goes wrong

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content