Bracewell to captain as NZ name squad for Pakistan T20Is; Robinson gets maiden call-up

Christchurch, April 3 (IANS) New Zealand have named experienced all-rounder Michael Bracewell as their captain for the five-match T20I series against Pakistan, scheduled from April 17 to 27 in Rawalpindi and Lahore.

Bracewell, who will skipper the team for the first time, has been side-lined since his most recent international appearance in March last year, firstly with a ruptured Achilles and then with a broken finger.

Since recovering he’s made a spectacular return to cricket, claiming his best first-class figures with the ball in his first match back in the Plunket Shield.

New Zealand selector Sam Wells said Bracewell had shown commendable patience and dedication in the past year to work his way back from injury.

"Michael has faced a long period on the sideline and it’s exciting to see him back playing cricket again. The fact he’s back playing at a high level after an Achilles rupture is testament to his hard work and application.

"He’s a well-respected leader and has captaincy experience for Wellington along with New Zealand A and New Zealand XI teams, which we believe holds him in good stead to lead the group in Pakistan," said Wells.

The all-rounder will lead a side that features seasoned T20I players, including seven members of previous T20 World Cup squads, balanced by two young players Tim Robinson and Will O’Rourke, selected in a BLACKCAPS T20I squad for the first time.

Robinson earned his maiden selection on the back of a standout Super Smash campaign, where he finished as the second-highest run scorer in the men's competition, despite playing only six of the Firebirds' eleven games due to injury.

O’Rourke’s selection caps a summer that has seen him make his debut across the two other international formats, including the best match return on Test debut for New Zealand: nine for 93 against South Africa.

"Tim is still very early in his domestic career but his natural ability and explosive power was on full display this season. Combined with his outstanding fielding, we believe he has a skill-set that’s well suited to the format.

"We’ve been delighted with Will’s early efforts in international cricket, in both the formats he’s played so far. This tour will be an excellent chance for him to test his skills in foreign conditions," added Wells.

New Zealand squad for Pakistan: Michael Bracewell (c), Finn Allen, Mark Chapman, Josh Clarkson, Jacob Duffy, Dean Foxcroft, Ben Lister, Cole McConchie, Adam Milne, Jimmy Neesham, Will O’Rourke, Tim Robinson, Ben Sears, Tim Seifert, Ish Sodhi

Tour schedule:

First T20I: April 18, Rawalpindi

Second T20I: April 20, Rawalpindi

Third T20I: April 21, Rawalpindi

Fourth T20I: April 25, Lahore

Fifth T20I: April 27, Lahore

--IANS

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