With Kane Williamson rested and stand-in skipper Tim Southee only due to play the first two T20Is, spin bowler Mitchell Santner will captain New Zealand for the third T20I of their three-match series against the West Indies.
New Zealand head coach Gary Stead has said that giving the Chennai Super Kings bowler the captaincy is a part of their long-term thinking as they aim to prepare for the future.
Stead also feels that Mitchell Santner's experience of playing in the IPL and the CPL means that he is well-suited for the role. He said:
"I guess when we looked at a one-off game, we started looking at who were the people we were looking to the future and Mitch has a lot of experience through the Caribbean Premier League and IPL and being with the international team for a long period of time."
"So, it's somewhat a trial to find out how that goes and it's part of our planning towards further down the track when we look at the future as well. He's still a young man, and has plenty of time left in the game, so it's an opportunity to see how he performs in that role."
Mitchell Santner ready for more responsibility
Mitchell Santner may only be 28 but he has been part of the New Zealand set-up for a while now. He made his debut in 2015 and has since played 72 ODIs, 22 Tests and 44 T20Is.
He is the Black Caps' fourth-highest wicket-taker in the shortest format of the game and is looking forward to the additional responsibility that will come his way in the upcoming series.
Mitchell Santner said during a virtual media interaction:
"Yeah, it's pretty cool obviously. It's a privilege to play for your country, let alone captain it. I guess with the schedule we've got, we're obviously looking forward to the back-to-back World Cups coming up. I guess there's going to be a little bit of rotation with the Test boys coming and going. So, gives me an opportunity in the future if the other guys aren't available as well."
"I've played a little bit of T20 cricket now under a few different captains, so it's a great experience to be able to do this and put my spin on it," Santner said. "T20 cricket is quite fickle and can be quite challenging at times, so definitely looking forward to the opportunity."
Mitchell Santner may also be asked to bat up the order at number seven in the absence of the injured Colin de Grandhomme. And while he is not necessarily a batsman by trade, he is backing himself to get the job done for his country.
New Zealand and Mitchell Santner will be aiming to end their poor run of form in T20I cricket as they go up against the West Indies. The 2019 World Cup finalists have lost their last seven games in the format and go into the series in sixth place in the ICC rankings.