Wellington: New Zealand have chosen three new players, dropped two veterans and will experiment with a new opening partnership in a squad named on Sunday for the upcoming England Test series. Hamish Rutherford, Tom Latham and Bruce Martin are elevated to the Test ranks while all-rounder James Franklin and spinner Jeetan Patel are omitted from the 12-man squad.
Latham, however, is unlikely to make the playing XI after coach Mike Hesson indicated Rutherford and the recalled Peter Fulton were "most likely" to open against the tourists. New Zealand have struggled for several years to establish a productive opening pair with Martin Guptill and Brendon McCullum averaging 16.5 in eight innings during the recent series against Sri Lanka and South Africa.
Guptill has now been sidelined by injury and captain McCullum has dropped down the order opening the way for Fulton to be recalled three years after he played the last of his 10 Tests. Rutherford, the son of former New Zealand opener Ken Rutherford, has played against England in the one-day and Twenty20 series while 20-year-old Latham last played for New Zealand in an ODI against Sri Lanka in November.
Hesson said another fast bowler would be added to the squad following England's four-day match against a New Zealand XI starting on Wednesday where Mark Gillespie and Neil Wagner are the leading contenders. The Test squad sees the return of Ross Taylor and Tim Southee who missed the recent South Africa tour while BJ Watling retains the wicketkeeping role. Along with Guptill, players not considered because of injury are Daniel Vettori, Chris Martin and Mitchell McClenaghan.
New Zealand squad: Brendon McCullum (captain), Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Dean Brownlie, Peter Fulton, Tom Latham, Bruce Martin, Hamish Rutherford, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, BJ Watling, Kane Williamson.