Tom Latham in line for New Zealand test callup

MATT RICHENS
Last updated 05:00 10/02/2014

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Tom Latham could be a test cricketer by week's end and he has the boozy behaviour of two Black Caps to thank.

Jesse Ryder and Doug Bracewell are both unlikely to be play the second test against India - starting Friday in Wellington - because of their night out drinking on the eve of the first test.

Bracewell was injured during the night and Ryder is unlikely to be considered because of his latest indiscretion.

Both were cover for the first test and would have been for the second, but those jobs are now up in the air.

Canterbury duo Matt Henry and Hamish Bennett are the favourites to replace Bracewell, while Latham's domestic form could see him get the nod as Ryder's replacement.

And with Ross Taylor's wife due to give birth any day now, Latham could play.

It would be a deserved callup for the 21-year-old who has played 13 one day internationals and seven Twenty20 internationals.

Latham has scored five half centuries, a massive 241 not out in one innings and 726 runs in seven Plunket Shield games this season. He can bat anywhere in the top or middle order and has a game better suited to test cricket than some of the players he's competing against for a spot.

The Bennett-Henry battle could have been a compelling one as both went well against India in the ODI series, but Henry is nursing a slight groin niggle. That leaves Bennett the most likely candidate, though after New Zealand's 40-run win over India yesterday, there's no chance of the quick bowling trio being dropped.

Should Bennett and Latham join the test side this week in Wellington, they would still be available to play for Canterbury in their penultimate first-class match of the season starting on Sunday, should they miss out on the playing XI.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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