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Neesham to tour India with Black Caps

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 5/09/2016

A recuperated Jimmy Neesham has been recalled to the New Zealand cricket squad for their tour of India.

Otago allrounder Neesham is the only addition to the 15-man squad for the three-Test tour while opening batsman Jeet Raval and seamer Matt Henry are dropped from the group which toured Zimbabwe and South Africa.

Neesham, 25, last featured internationally in the Test series in Australia in November when he was forced out by back pain suffered while bowling.

He played at domestic level for Otago and more recently with English county Derbyshire and has been declared fully fit for a tour which features Tests in Kanpur, Kolkata and Indore, starting on September 22.

New Zealand selector Gavin Larsen said Neesham's all-round ability was the key to his inclusion, with Indian spin-friendly conditions placing less importance on the need for an extra pace specialist such as Henry.

"Jimmy has put in a lot of work to make sure he is physically ready for a return to Test cricket," Larsen said.

"Having two pace bowling allrounders in Jimmy and Doug Bracewell helps the balance of the squad, particularly if playing on pitches which demand a spin-heavy bowling attack."

Larsen says allrounder Corey Anderson wasn't considered as he continues his recovery from a back injury.

Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi and Mark Craig are the three spin options and Larsen says a significant challenge awaits them.

He says Santner and Sodhi will take confidence from their prolific performances at the World Twenty20 in India in March, when spin formed the basis of New Zealand's run to the semi-finals.

"It's another big challenge for them early in their young careers, as well as for Mark Craig, who has made some changes in the past six months and has shown growth in his game."

Opener Martin Guptill has retained his place despite struggling to transfer his limited-overs performances into the Test arena.

There was speculation Raval could be in line to take his spot but the uncapped 27-year-old is instead omitted. His only appearance on the African tour, like Henry, was the opening warm-up match against Zimbabwe A seven weeks ago.

"Jeet Raval misses out on this tour, but we were really pleased with what we saw of him in Africa," Larsen said.

"He did everything asked of him and we'll continue to monitor him closely."

World Test No.2 India have never lost a home series against New Zealand, who have slipped to seventh in the rankings following their 1-0 series loss in South Africa.


Kane Williamson (capt), Martin Guptill, Tom Latham, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, Jimmy Neesham, Mitchell Santner, BJ Watling, Luke Ronchi, Mark Craig, Doug Bracewell, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult.

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