New Zealand springs surprise, names Michael Bracewell as skipper for T20I series against Pakistan

New Zealand springs surprise, names Michael Bracewell as skipper for T20I series against Pakistan

New Zealand have swung a surprise by naming experienced all-rounder Michael Bracewell as their captain for this month’s five-match T20I series against Pakistan.

Bracewell has not played an international match since March last year and as only recently returned to domestic duties following injury concerns that have included a ruptured Achilles and a broken finger, as per ICC.

But with the likes of Kane Williamson and Mitchell Santner skipping the tour due to duties in the Indian Premier League (IPL), Bracewell earns a call-up to captain the Kiwis in the five-match series in Pakistan that will provide both teams quality practice ahead of June’s ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.

New Zealand selector Sam Wells was thrilled to be able to welcome Bracewell back into the fold and has no doubt the 33-year-old can perform the role of captain with aplomb.

“Michael has faced a long period on the sideline and it is exciting to see him back playing cricket again,” Wells said as quoted by ICC.

“The fact he is back playing at a high level after an Achilles rupture is testament to his hard work and application.”

“He is 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,” concluded Wells.

Bracewell will lead a youthful New Zealand side on the tour, with regulars Trent Boult, Devon Conway, Lockie Ferguson, Matt Henry, Daryl Mitchell, Glenn Phillips, Rachin Ravindra, Santner and Williamson all missing due to their playing commitments in the IPL.

Other first-choice players Will Young, Tim Southee, Colin Munro and Tim Latham are also missing for various reasons, with the likes of hard-hitting opener Finn Allen, experienced all-rounder Jimmy Neesham and veteran spinner Ish Sodhi expected to lead the way.

Two players are also in line to make their T20I debut, with fast bowler Will O’Rourke earning a call-up after impressing on Test debut against Australia recently and hard-hitting batter Tim Robinson included in the squad of 15 after some big knocks in domestic cricket in New Zealand.

Wells has high hopes for the duo should they win selection in Pakistan.

“Tim is still very early in his domestic career but his natural ability and explosive power was on full display this season,” Wells said.

“Combined with his outstanding fielding, we believe he has a skill-set that is well suited to the format. We have been delighted with Will’s early efforts in international cricket, in both the formats he has played so far. This tour will be an excellent chance for him to test his skills in foreign conditions,” he concluded.

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

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