All rounder Corey Anderson has been named in New Zealand’s ODI squad for the five-match series in India, but he will play as a specialist batsman, New Zealand Cricket announced on Monday.
New Zealand recalled batsman Anton Devcich and wicketkeeper BJ Watling to the side, while allrounder James Neesham, who made a return to the Test team after a long injury lay-off, was also picked. Tim Southee, who was ruled out of the Test series in India after straining an ankle ligament, found a place in the 15-member squad. Henry Nicholls, who is part of the Test squad in India, was left out.
Anderson last played an international game for New Zealand during the World T20 in India, before a back injury ruled him out of the tours of Zimbabwe and South Africa. He played in three 50-over trial games in Lincoln last week but did not bowl. NZC selector Gavin Larsen said the allrounder’s rehab would continue to be monitored.
“Corey’s professionalism throughout his rehab process has led to this point, and it’s a credit to him and the hard work he’s put in,” Larsen said. “We’re excited to have him back. He provides power through the middle order and knows the conditions in India well.
“He’s still working on his bowling and we’ll continue to monitor that, but for this series he will be used solely as a specialist batsman.”
Both Watling and Devich have not played ODIs for a significant period. Watling’s previous match in the format was in February 2013, while Devcich’s last international appearance was in December 2014.
Watling was added to the squad as wicketkeeping and batting cover, Larsen said, while Devcich’s inclusion gave the side an extra spin option in India, complementing Ish Sodhi and Mitchell Santner.
“India conditions are known to be quite harsh, so it’s really important that we have cover for all positions,” Larsen said. “Luke Ronchi and BJ Watling provide us with wicketkeeping and middle-order cover, while Anton is another spin option for us and can bat anywhere in the order.
“The last time we played ODI cricket was in the Chappell-Hadlee series and victory there helped us reach the world no. 2 ranking. We obviously want to keep growing on that and this series is another massive challenge for us.”
Fast bowlers Mitchell McClenaghan and Adam Milne, batsman Colin Munro and allrounder George Worker were unavailable for selection due to injury. Milne, who underwent an elbow operation, had played the trial matches in Lincoln as a batsman, while McClenaghan was ruled out due to a pelvis injury.
The first match of the ODI series will be played in Dharamsala on October 16, with the remaining games being held in Delhi, Mohali, Ranchi and Visakhapatnam. New Zealand are currently ranked No. 2 on the ICC ODI rankings, three points ahead of India, who are third.