New Zealand coach Mike Hesson has included recuperating all-rounders James Neesham and Corey Anderson in his squad for the three-Test tour of Australia later this year.
The duo, who have both been battling back problems, were named on Friday in a 15-man party to face Australia in Brisbane and Perth, as well as the first ever day/night Test in Adelaide.
Hesson is banking on the all-rounders being fit enough to supplement the bowling of the pace attack, allowing him to name only four seamers in Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Doug Bracewell and Matt Henry.
“A lot of our recent success has been based on the value of our number six batsman bowling some overs and we’re comfortable continuing in that vein,” Hesson said.
“Rather than having an extra fast bowler not playing in Australia, we thought it more prudent for those in contention to remain in New Zealand and be playing domestic cricket.”
Hesson said he was confident both Neesham, who was rested from the final two one-dayers on the recent tour of South Africa, and Anderson, who was diagnosed with a double stress fracture in his spine in June, would be available.
“We’ve been very conservative with them and we wouldn’t have picked them if we didn’t think they would be fit,” Hesson added
“Most countries are struggling for one and we’re lucky to have two good ones.”
Otherwise, Hesson has selected an experienced squad led by Brendon McCullum to try and extend New Zealand’s run of seven consecutive series without defeat.
Mark Craig, who with Kane Williamson bowled the Black Caps to a series-tying victory against England at Headingley in June, was the sole specialist spinner named in the squad.
Luke Ronchi will remain as back-up for the middle order and wicketkeeper BJ Watling, while Hamish Rutherford retained his place in the squad ahead of Dean Brownlie as cover for the top order.
Perth-born Brownlie, who scored 198 runs in two Tests the last time New Zealand toured Australia in 2011, was named in the ‘A’ squad for matches against their Sri Lankan counterparts next month.
New Zealand, who will play three warm-up matches before the first Test starts at the Gabba on Nov. 5, drew the 2011 series 1-1 after winning the second Test in Hobart.
“History suggests is a difficult place to win,” Hesson said. “They know the conditions so well. But we’re playing some good cricket and we’ve got a good team so let’s see.”
Squad: Brendon McCullum (captain), Corey Anderson, Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Mark Craig, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, James Neesham, Luke Ronchi, Hamish Rutherford, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, BJ Watling, Kane Williamson