New Zealand's selectors have trumpeted Hamish Bennett and Matt Henry in the same breath for most of the summer, so it was no coincidence both got the callup within a week of each other.
Henry had his first official training session as a Black Caps squad member yesterday after being summoned to Wellington as bowling cover, with Tim Southee to be rested in today's fifth ODI against India. The 22-year-old is unlikely to play, with Mitchell McClenaghan set to return, but donning the black training kit was a pretty good start at the Basin Reserve.
"It was a big surprise but it's a great opportunity and all pretty exciting. I've just got to come here and train and see what happens and prepare like I'm playing," Henry said.
Some people wouldn't take too kindly to being diverted from Gisborne to Wellington at late notice, but not Henry.
He was flying with the Canterbury team on Wednesday to face Northern Districts when he got shoulder-tapped during the stopover at Auckland Airport, and told to head to the capital.
Henry found a friendly face in Bennett, his new ball partner at Canterbury with whom he's scythed through a few top orders this season.
Bennett earned a callup last week with Adam Milne's torn abdominal muscle, and Henry was clearly next cab off the rank. Selector Bruce Edgar had noted how Bennett and Henry bowled at a good clip and had batsmen hopping about in domestic cricket, and the pair's careers have followed similar paths.
Two years ago Henry had major back surgery soon after Bennett which involved repairing a stress fracture with wire.
"Going through the operation he's always been there and been a great support. Fortunately he's here in the team as well. He's been great for me and my learning because he's been around for a lot longer. He's been massive," Henry said.
Henry took 5-67 in his most recent first-class match against Otago last week. His career numbers make compelling reading, with 55 first-class wickets at 22.70. In domestic 50-over cricket he has 37 wickets at 19, and an economy rate of 5.2.
Henry got a taste of the big time when playing for New Zealand A against England last year, and got a New Zealand A tour to the subcontinent.
He's not looking to try anything fancy if he gets a chance.
"You've got to put the ball in a good area. I run in hard and try to bowl as hard as I can. It's not all about the numbers, it's about putting the ball in the right area and bowling hard."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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