In-form Guptill wins back Test squad berth

World Cup batting glutton Martin Guptill is back in the Test frame while allrounder Mitchell Santner is poised for an international debut for New Zealand on their mid-year tour of England.

Opener Guptill, who scored more runs than any player at the World Cup, hasn’t played Test cricket for two years after struggling in the longer format.

However, coach Mike Hesson says a refined technique and sheer weight of runs has earned a recall for the 28-year-old, who is included in both the Test and ODI squads, which both number 15.

“This is a stable, established Test side but there will be opportunities for contenders,” Hesson said.

“Martin’s a classically styled batsman and there’s really no reason why he can’t be as influential in the longer game as he is in the short.”

With Tom Latham having locked down one opening berth with his form last summer, Guptill is expected to contest the second spot with Hamish Rutherford, whose international form has been patchy.

Guptill’s last Test was on the corresponding tour of England in 2013. His average from 31 Tests is just under 30, having scored two centuries.

Hesson said he could also be a middle-order option and would get a chance to prove himself in two warmup matches against Somerset and Worcestershire in May.

They precede the first of two Tests starting on May 21, followed by five ODIs in June.

Another notable Test feature is the inclusion of pace bowler Matt Henry, who has only played limited overs games for his country.

Henry, who impressed when called into the World Cup as injury cover, effectively takes the berth of allrounder James Neesham, who misses the tour because of a back injury.

Mark Craig is the only spinner on a tour which is expected to favour seam bowling, leaving no room for legspinner Ish Sodhi.

Wicketkeeper BJ Watling will captain New Zealand in the warm-up games in the absence of regular skipper Brendon McCullum and up to five other players who will be concluding their Indian Premier League duties.

Santner and uncapped pace bowlers Jacob Duffy and Ben Wheeler will boost numbers for those games.

Northern Districts left-arm spinning allrounder Santner is the only uncapped player in the ODI squad and the only new face from the group who reached the World Cup final.

The 23-year-old fills the huge gap left by retired spinner Daniel Vettori, having impressed with 11 wickets and a batting average of 36.22 during the domestic one-day season.

“Mitchell brings to the table some all-round cover,” Hesson said.

“We’re hoping he can take his opportunities and continue the excellent progress he’s been making over recent seasons.”


Test: Brendon McCullum (capt), Tom Latham, Hamish Rutherford, Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Corey Anderson, BJ Watling, Luke Ronchi, Mark Craig, Tim Southee, Doug Bracewell, Matt Henry, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult.

ODI: Brendon McCullum (capt), Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Tom Latham Grant Elliott, Corey Anderson, Mitchell Santner, Luke Ronchi, Nathan McCullum, Tim Southee, Matt Henry, Adam Milne, Mitchell McClenaghan, Trent Boult.

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