New Zealand recall Neesham, retain Guptill for India tour


New Zealand have recalled allrounder Jimmy Neesham after an injury-enforced absence from international cricket and retained out-of form opener Martin Guptill in the 15-member squad for a three-Test tour of India beginning later this month.

Guptill failed with the bat in two Tests against South Africa last month, reinforcing the impression he struggles in the five-day game, despite his limited overs talents.

The opener averages 43.25 in one-dayers but just 29.59 in Tests and can expect a torrid time against the world number two India.

By retaining the 29-year-old Guptill, New Zealand have overlooked the chance to blood Jeet Raval, who is familiar with Indian conditions after playing his youth cricket there.

Neesham, who has played nine Tests, has battled a back injury that forced him to return from the series against Australia in November last year. He played for Otago province during the last New Zealand domestic season and recently played for the English county Derbyshire.

Neesham joins the 15-man New Zealand squad for the India tour after missing New Zealand’s recent test series in Zimbabwe and South Africa. Opening batsman Jeet Raval and fast bowler Matt Henry have been omitted after being part of the squad for the African tour.

“Jimmy has put in a lot of work to make sure he is physically ready for a return to Test cricket,” selector Gavin 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 said India’s home record was formidable but the Kiwis were looking for a historic series win.

“We’re yet to win a Test series over there and that’s motivating for everyone,” he said. “We’ve got three Tests to try create a special piece of history.”

New Zealand will play Tests in Kanpur, Kolkata and Indore, followed by a five-match one-day series against India.

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

(With PTI inputs)