New Zealand has made plenty of changes for the three-match Twenty20 International series against India which begins on February 6 at the Westpac stadium in Wellington. In a bid to manage the workload of the players, the selectors have decided to rest Trent Boult for the entire series while Lockie Ferguson, who has been impressive in the series, has been rested for one game. However, the side will see the inclusion of two uncapped players and it is a reward for their performances in the Super Smash, New Zealand’s domestic Twenty20 tournament. Daryl Mitchell and Blair Tickner have been included in the New Zealand squad. While Mitchell plays for Northern Districts, Tickner plays for Central Districts.
Speaking on the selection, chairman of selectors Gavin Larsen said, “Both Daryl and Blair have been rewarded for the strong form they've produced in domestic cricket. Daryl has shown his value with the bat and also tends to bowl at some tough times for the Knights, and Blair is well-respected among his team-mates and opponents alike as someone who bowls a heavy ball at good pace,” Larsen said.
The 27-year-old Mitchell, hailing from Hamilton, has been in good form for Northern Districts in the Super Smash. In eight games, he has smashed 281 runs at an average of 35 and a strike-rate of 141. Daryl is also the son of famous All Blacks Rugby coach John Mitchell and is nicknamed Moose, probably on the lines of the Archie Comics character Moose Mason. His highest knock of 78 helped Northern Districts to a narrow two-run win against Auckland.
On the other hand, 25-year-old Tickner is a right-arm fast bowler hailing from Hawke’s Bay, Napier. He has the joint second-highest wickets in the Super Smash with 12 in seven games at an average of 18.25 and a strike-rate of 13. Tickner has been included in just one game as Ferguson gets rested for the last game.
New Zealand has enjoyed a good run in Twenty20s against India, holding a 6-2 head-to-head record against them. New Zealand won the first five games but in the 2017 series which was held in India, Virat Kohli’s side won in New Delhi and Thiruvanathapuram to win for the first time against the Blackcaps. In the previous series in 2009, New Zealand won the two-match series 2-0.
New Zealand Squad
Kane Williamson (c), Doug Bracewell, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson (games 1 & 2), Martin Guptill, Scott Kuggeleijn, Daryl Mitchell, Colin Munro, Mitchell Santner, Tim Seifert (wk), Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Blair Tickner (game 3).