Black Caps keeper faces axe for tour Watling likely to get the nod

Last updated 14:04 07/12/2012

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South African-born Black Caps wicketkeeper Kruger van Wyk is likely to be denied an opportunity to play test cricket on home soil.

Fairfax NZ understands 32-year- old van Wyk has lost his place in the New Zealand test team to BJ Watling - himself South African- born but New Zealand-raised.

The biggest talking point of today's team announcement, the availability of Ross Taylor, remained unconfirmed last night, but Brendon McCullum seemed almost certain to be named skipper of both test and Twenty20 squads.

Watling had been anointed New Zealand's No 1 test keeper earlier this year, before a hip injury forced him to cede the gloves to van Wyk.

Van Wyk has done an admirable job, impressing plenty of people with his grit and competitiveness. He averages 21.31 in nine tests and has recorded 24 dismissals, after making his debut against South Africa at Dunedin in March.

But it's understood van Wyk won't be in the New Zealand team that meets the Proteas in tests at Cape Town and Port Elizabeth early next month.

Watling has kept wicket in just one of his previous eight tests, having first been picked as an opening batsman. Like van Wyk, Watling is a busy, hard-working cricketer, who will give everything he has to the team cause.

Watling was the brightest batting light during New Zealand's rain-affected limited overs series in Sri Lanka and there was some surprise that he hadn't been named in the Black Caps squad for the two tests that followed.

But there remains a feeling that Watling perhaps lacks a touch of genuine class and it might be that Wellington's Luke Ronchi eventually becomes the test gloveman. New Zealand-born Ronchi, a former Australian limited overs representative, becomes eligible to play for the Black Caps next month and returned to this country from Perth with the express intention of making the national side.

Elsewhere, a recall for Canterbury batsman Dean Brownlie looks likely.

He lost his place in the side after being found out by the West Indies' slow bowlers during the winter. Subsequent tours to India and Sri Lanka were hardly the right arenas for a return to the team, but the wickets in South Africa should suit him better. Born and bred in Western Australia, Brownlie is considered a fine back-foot player.

While he's expected to come back, there's also an anticipated reprieve for Wellington's James Franklin, who was dropped for last month's 167-run test win over Sri Lanka.

Black Caps coach and chief selector Mike Hesson has indicated that players will receive ample opportunities to cement spots in the squad.

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TWENTY20 (possible squad): Brendon McCullum (c), Trent Boult, Andrew Ellis, James Franklin, Martin Guptill, Roneel Hira, Tom Latham, Rob Nicol, Nathan McCullum, Kyle Mills, Adam Milne, Jacob Oram, Tim Southee, BJ Watling, Kane Williamson.

TEST (possible squad): Brendon McCullum (c), Todd Astle, Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Dean Brownlie, Daniel Flynn, James Franklin, Martin Guptill, Chris Martin, Rob Nicol, Jeetan Patel, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling, Kane Williamson.

(Assuming Ross Taylor rules himself out).

- Taranaki Daily News

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