WELLINGTON, New Zealand (CMC)
Wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi and off-spinner Mark Craig are the new caps named in the New Zealand squad for the upcoming tour to the West Indies.
The pair’s selection is the highlight of the 15-strong squad released yesterday to play three Tests in Jamaica, Trinidad and Guyana in June.
The New Zealand selectors have opted for two spinners, two all-rounders and only three pace bowlers expecting spin-friendly conditions in the Caribbean.
“Luke also provides us with middle order batting cover as he’s a good player of spin bowling,” said Black Caps head coach Mike Hesson.
“Mark has had a strong Plunket Shield taking 22 wickets and his right-arm off-spinners will be valuable against their left-handed heavy top order batting line-up. He’s been in our sights for some time and was also chosen for our winter training squad.”
Hesson confirmed that Daniel Vettori was not available for the tour, saying he felt his bowling loads were not yet up to the intensity of Test cricket.
He is expecting a far more formidable challenge from the West Indies team compared with the injury-hit side that toured here this summer.
“While we gained a convincing 2-0 Test series victory against the West Indies in December, they’ll be a totally different proposition in their conditions,” said Hesson.
“They’ll have the added motivation to perform well in the first match which will be Chris Gayle’s 100th Test.”
Squad: Brendon McCullum, Corey Anderson, Trent Boult, Mark Craig, Peter Fulton, Tom Latham, James Neesham, Luke Ronchi, Hamish Rutherford, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling and Kane Williamson.