On Friday morning, Blackcaps coach Mike Hesson named the strongest team possible for the up coming Australian test series.
While all the selections are to be expected there is one name who is extremely unlucky to miss out; Neil Wagner.
Wagner’s bowling statistics are nothing to write home about with an average of 34.48 and strike rate of 60.6. What the statistics don’t pick up, however, is the heart he brings to the bowling crease.
On the tough batting-friendly pitches that aren’t doing much for the bowlers, Wagner is at his prime.
Countless times when Southee or Boult have not been able to make breakthroughs, Wagner has come on and bowled long spells which have kept the pressure on the batsman leading to a breakthrough. I believe this skill set will be sorely missed in the Perth test match.
Hesson has decided to select the two No.6 all rounders saying; “a lot of our recent success has been based on the value of our No.6 batsman bowling some overs, and we’re comfortable continuing in that vein.”
I agree with the decision to take two No.6 all rounder’s, however I felt Luke Ronchi didn’t deserve selection.
Ronchi during the World Cup, England and African series has been extremely out of form except for his Test Debut against England. Ronchi has been selected as back up wicketkeeper, I don’t see any merit to this thinking.
Tom Latham has proven himself as a great back up wicketkeeper. I would see more merit in keeping Luke Ronchi in New Zealand to play Plunket Shield matches or New Zealand A tour to get back into the form that we saw from him pre World Cup.
The selection of Hamish Rutherford comes across to me as very odd.
By having him in the squad says we are still having the conversation over who is the best opening partnership. I believe from recent England and African tours this debate is dead. Tom Latham and Martin Guptill have proven they have the goods and are the men that should be opening the batting for us.
Now onto the important part who out of these 15 players would make the 11. The top 5 select themselves being:
- Martin Guptill
- Tom Latham
- Kane Willamson
- Ross Taylor
- Brendon McCullum
The number 6 all rounder spot seems to be a big debate in the media. I see it as quite an easy decision; James Nessham. He has great test batting technique and is handy enough with the ball. With this series I would like to see Brendon chuck the ball to him more.
Over the past few years while we have won a record number of test matches our 5th bowling option is always been underused. I personally think this has seen the injuries that have happened to Boult and Southee as a major reason for this occurring. Nessham is economic enough and picked up enough wickets to deserve more overs.
The next four are as follows:
- BJ Watling
- Tim Southee
- Mark Craig
- Trent Boult
This leaves one last seamer spot. I have really enjoyed seeing Matt Henry rise through the ranks over the past year. I would still select Doug Bracewell because of the skill he showed during the African series along with having the experience of being the bowler responsible for winning the test match against Australia In Hobart. I can easily see the selectors swap between these two players throughout the test series.
I am really looking forward to this test series considering the recent retirements of Australian players giving New Zealand the best chance we have ever had to win a test series in Australia.
The full team Mike Hesson’s has selected is as follows:
Brendon McCullum (captain)
By Nathan Pont