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Monday May 27, 2024

Depleted NZ squad arrives for T20 series

By Abdul Mohi Shah
April 14, 2024
New Zealand cricket team. — AFP/File
New Zealand cricket team. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The New Zealand cricket team arrived in the wee hours Sunday morning to play a five-match T20 series against Pakistan starting with the opening match at the Pindi Stadium on April 8.

This is New Zealand’s third trip to the country in more than a year time as Kiwis have also played Test and ODI series.

The team consists of 15 players and 10 officials. The New Zealand squad arrived amid top security cover only meant for VVIPs as members were escorted from the Airport to the team’s hotel in Islamabad.

The team members will have a complete rest on Sunday and are expected to start training from Monday evening onward at the Islamabad Club Cricket Ground and later at the Pindi Stadium.

The team that arrived early Sunday morning includes:

Michael Bracewell (c), Tom Blundell (WK), Mark Chapman, Josh Clarkson, Jacob Duffy, Zak Foulkes, Dean Foxcroft, Ben Lister, Cole McConchie, Jimmy Neesham, Will O’Rourke*, Tim Robinson, Ben Sears, Tim Seifert (WK), Ish Sodhi

Staff members; Simon Insley (Manager), Matt Long (S&C), Gary Stead (Head Coach), Luke Ronchi (Batting Coach), James Foster (assistant coach), Brendon Donkers (Bowling Coach), Pat McHugh (Doctor), Gavin Cross (Physio), Terry Minish (Security).

Just before departure, the New Zealand team received an injury jolt during the last days of the training session. Finn Allen (back injury) and Adam Milne (ankle injury) have been ruled out of the five-match T20 series against Pakistan. Wicketkeeper-batsman Tom Blundell and all-rounder Zak Foulkes have been called into the squad as replacements.

As many as nine top New Zealand cricketers are already busy playing IPL in India. These include Trent Boult, Devon Conway, Lockie Ferguson, Matt Henry, Daryl Mitchell, Glenn Phillips, Rachin Ravindra, Mitch Santner and Kane Williamson. None of these have been directed/asked to join the team for the series in Pakistan. The same is the case with W. Young who is busy with Nottinghamshire, Tom Latham (to be with his wife for the birth of their child), and Tim Southee (rested-workload management).

Meanwhile, efforts are on to put the Champions Trophy (Trophy) on display during the New Zealand’s five-match series in Pakistan. The country has been allotted to host the mega event in February 2025 with Trophy expected to take a trip to different cricket venues and historic places anytime later this month. Champions Trophy will be the first major cricketing event Pakistan are to host following the 1996 World Cup hosted jointly by Pakistan, India, and Sri Lanka.

“We are making efforts to bring the Trophy to Pakistan anytime later this month and put it on display during the five-match T20 series against New Zealand,” a Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official when contacted, said.