Hira, Devcich in NZ squad for World Twenty20

MARK GEENTY
Last updated 14:12 16/02/2014

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Left-arm spinners Roneel Hira and Anton Devcich return to a New Zealand cricket squad missing Jesse Ryder for the World Twenty20 tournament in Bangladesh next month.

The pair make up a spin-heavy squad which also includes Kane Williamson who is the frontrunner to replace Ryder as Martin Guptill's opening partner. Ryder was left out after his recent off-field behaviour which included going to a bar until the early hours of the morning of the first test against India in Auckland, which saw him dropped for the current test in Wellington.

Hira played the last of his 15 T20 internationals against England at The Oval last June, while Devcich, who also offers hard-hitting batting and sharp fielding, has six ODIs and two T20 internationals to his name, the most recent of those in Sri Lanka in November.

"As we saw when the Black Caps toured Bangladesh in October, the pitches will be slow and likely to turn. Consequently we were looking for batsmen who can play spin well as well as some more spin bowling options," national selection manager Bruce Edgar said.

"Anton gives us both top and middle order batting options as well as spin. He performed well on the tour to Bangladesh and the New Zealand A tour to India and Sri Lanka before that.

"And Ronnie is an experienced Twenty20 spin bowler. He's an excellent fieldsman and he had a very good HRV Twenty20 with Canterbury."

Promising fast bowlers Adam Milne (abdominal strain) and Matt Henry (groin strain) were not considered due to injury, while test spearhead Trent Boult got the final pace bowling spot.

The left-armer didn't play any limited overs cricket for New Zealand in the home summer due to a quad strain. The last of his three T20 internationals was against England in Wellington a year ago.

New Zealand depart on March 8 for a pre-tournament camp in Abu Dhabi, then play warm-up matches against Pakistan and Australia before their tournament opener against England in Chittagong on March 22. South Africa, Sri Lanka and a qualifier are also in their pool.

New Zealand squad: Brendon McCullum (captain), Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Colin Munro, Anton Devcich, Corey Anderson, Luke Ronchi, Jimmy Neesham, Nathan McCullum, Tim Southee, Kyle Mills, Roneel Hira, Trent Boult, Mitchell McClenaghan.

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- Fairfax Media

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