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Neesham still perfecting bowling style

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 5/05/2017 Angelo Risso

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Black Caps all-rounder Jimmy Neesham has spent the off-season plugging away at his bowling technique - and hopes the fruits of his labour will ripen in this month's ODI tri-series in Ireland.

The 26-year-old produced solid form with the willow in the 2016-17 campaign, with an average of 27.75 across 21 Test, ODI and T20 international matches and a top score of 74 off 83 balls against Australia.

Neesham's bowling was less effective, however, securing just 14 wickets across all three formats over the same period.

Yet, instead of morphing into a specialist batsman, the Aucklander has buckled down on his bowling in an effort to hang onto his place as an all-rounder.

A bowler with a somewhat unusual action, the right-arm medium-pacer told reporters on Friday he'd worked on changing his alignment at the crease and coming in a little wider to wear the batsman down.

"My front-on action, if I can come wide of the crease and angle more into the batsman, it becomes a more consistent action," Neesham said.

"I think if I can get that bowling up to scratch, that puts me at the head of the queue - and there's some healthy competition."

© Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images The Black Caps will take a drastically understrength squad into the mid-May tri-series with Ireland and Bangladesh, with scores of Black Caps occupied by their exploits in the Indian Premier League.

Led by Tom Latham, the side will contain stalwart Ross Taylor and the likes of Neil Broom, Colin Munro and Mitch Santner - but few other ODI regulars.

Stalwarts including Kane Williamson will then return to the fold for the ICC Champions Trophy on English soil in June.

As a result, Neesham - who anticipated damp English-style wickets on the Emerald Isle - admitted to feeling the burden of team leadership.

"Myself and Kane had a conversation along those lines during the winter last year, about evolving more into that senior leadership group," Neesham said.

"It's another opportunity to show my wares from a leadership point of view."

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