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New Zealand announce squad for first two Pakistan ODIs

New Zealand have included two spin-bowling all-rounders but Colin de Grandhomme has missed out due to his father's death


New Zealand v Sri Lanka - 2nd T20
Martin Guptill has returned to the ODI squad after a hamstring injury

New Zealand have named a thirteen-man squad for the first two of their upcoming five ODIs against Pakistan at home. Regular captain Kane Williamson was rested for the last two ODIs against West Indies recently, and has now returned to lead the side and take over from stand-in captain Tom Latham.

In another change, opener Martin Guptill is back into the side after suffering a hamstring injury which forced him to miss all of the three ODIs against West Indies. However, he returned to the squad for the three T20 games though he scored only a run-a-ball 5 in the first T20. That has left his replacement, an unfortunate George Worker, to sit out despite being in good form in his recent matches.

In two of the three games, he scored half-centuries in winning causes, and on stepping over to domestic cricket for a T20 match against Northern Districts, Worker smashed a quickfire 75 from 38 balls. "It's tough on George missing out, but he'll continue to push for selection and will get further opportunities down the road,” said Gavin Larsen, New Zealand's national selector.

"Martin is a proven world-class player, so we're naturally thrilled to have him back in the mix. He and Colin [Munro] have been strong for us at the top of the order."

Another noticeable feature of the squad was the presence of two spin-bowling all-rounders, in Mitchell Santner and Todd Astle. The latter made his ODI debut in the first ODI against West Indies and bagged 4 wickets at merely 17.75 apart from hitting a crucial 49 in a huge partnership of 130 with Henry Nicholls at Christchurch. "Todd made the most of his opportunity against the West Indies and made a strong contribution with both bat and ball," Larsen reasoned.

"Mitchell has been one of our most consistent white-ball bowlers for a long time now, as can be seen by him being ranked in the top 10 ODI bowlers in the world. Conditions will dictate whether they play in the same eleven, but it's certainly not out of the question."

In other selection updates, all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme has missed out on selection after not being a part of the squad for all the limited-overs squads for the West Indies series either. His father's sudden death had forced him to fly back home to Zimbabwe. Though he has returned to New Zealand, he will first represent his domestic side, Auckland, on January 7, and would be in contention for a spot on the team only for the final three ODIs against Pakistan.

The first of the five ODIs is on January 6 at Wellington with the tour ending with the last of the three T20s on January 28 at Mount Maunganui.

New Zealand squad for first two ODIs: Kane Williamson (c), Todd Astle, Doug Bracewell, Trent Boult, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Colin Munro, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor.

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