Two Canty cricketers to take on English
Canterbury cricketer Tom Latham next week gets another crack at the touring English and another chance to prove he has what it takes at the top level.
The 20-year-old wicket-keeper batsman, who was left out both the Black Caps Twenty20 and ODI squads to play England this summer, was this morning included in the New Zealand XI to play the English in a four-day warm-up game in Queenstown next week.
Latham scored runs against the tourists for the New Zealand XI's Twenty20 side, but this marks his best opportunity yet to break into the test team.
Runs against a shadow English test bowling attack, in front of the national selectors in Queenstown might not be enough to sneak him into a crowded Black Caps' middle order though there are still spots up for grabs on the tour to England this winter to play for.
And with Brendon McCullum likely to move down the order and Martin Guptill injured, there could be opening positions in the test side on the line too.
Latham will play as a batsman only as Wellington's Luke Ronchi will take the gloves as well as captaining the side.
Dean Brownlie, a certainty for the test side, has also been included in the New Zealand XI alongside former Canterbury players Corey Anderson and Neil Broom.
Strangely, Canterbury skipper Peter Fulton was overlooked which could be a good or bad sign for the tall right hander.
Either the selectors have seen enough of him and he's already in the test side to play England in Dunedin starting on March 6, or he's out of contention.
Fulton, Northern Districts Daniel Flynn and Otago's Hamish Rutherford appear to be the leading candidates to open in the three-test series, though Latham could be considered and did open for New Zealand A against India A late last year.
Like Fulton, Flynn's name was strangely absent this morning, though Rutherford, who has also replaced Guptill in the Black Caps' ODI squad was part of the 11-player squad.
New Zealand XI: Luke Ronchi (c), Corey Anderson, Neil Broom, Dean Brownlie, Carl Cachopa, Mark Gillespie, Tom Latham, Jimmy Neesham, Hamish Rutherford, Ish Sodhi, Neil Wagner. * one to be added closer to the time