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Bennett earns BLACKCAPS recall for India T20s | Strong NZ A squad named

Wellington Firebirds veteran Hamish Bennett has been recalled to the BLACKCAPS as part of a 14-player squad to face India in five T20s, starting at Eden Park next Friday night.

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With regular pacemen Trent Boult and Lockie Ferguson still recovering from injury, Bennett is in line to make his first appearance for the national side since 2017.

Selector Gavin Larsen said the call-up was just reward for the 32-year-old’s form and perseverance.

“We’re delighted to have Hamish back in the fold for what will be a huge series against India,” Larsen said.

“Over the past few seasons he’s consistently been one of the top domestic white-ball bowlers and we’ve been impressed how he’s been able to evolve his game.

“We all know he brings good pace and bounce but it’s the clever variations he’s added that make him such a well-rounded T20 bowler.”

Bennett is currently equal-third highest wicket-taker in this season’s Dream11 Super Smash (14 wickets at an average of 18.4) and topped the bowling charts in last season’s Ford Trophy.

Captain Kane Williamson returns to the BLACKCAPS T20 squad after missing the England series in November with a hip injury, while Tom Bruce has been recalled for the final two games of the series in a swap-out with Colin de Grandhomme.

Jimmy Neesham, who missed the final two round-robin games of the Dream11 Super Smash with an injured quad muscle, is the only other change from the England series - he will instead play for New Zealand A in three one-dayers against India A next week.

Larsen said it was a busy period ahead across the three formats and the selectors wanted to use their resources to their best advantage.

“The next few weeks will be really intense for our elite male cricketers and we’re fully aware of the challenges ahead. We’re clearly wanting to win the series in front of us while also considering our wider ICC T20 World Cup campaign plan.

“We see both Daryl and Jimmy as important all-rounders in the T20 format. With a travelling squad of just 13 and the need to balance the options for the series, Daryl gets this opportunity against India as a reward for his consistent form for the BLACKCAPS.”

BLACKCAPS T20 squad

Kane Williamson (c)
Hamish Bennett
Tom Bruce (games 4-5)
Colin de Grandhomme (games 1-3)
Martin Guptill
Scott Kuggeleijn
Daryl Mitchell
Colin Munro
Ross Taylor
Blair Tickner
Mitchell Santner
Tim Seifert (wk)
Ish Sodhi
Tim Southee

Bruce will get an early look at India in the one-day format next week when he captains the NZ A side against its star-studded counterparts - who boast ten internationals.

He’s joined in the 13-player squad by current BLACKCAPS Test teammates Todd Astle, Glenn Phillips and the in-form Tom Blundell who will keep wickets.

The side also features a first-time call-up for Wellington Firebirds paceman Ollie Newton and a return of Otago Volts T20 captain Jacob Duffy - with both pace-bowlers showing strong form domestically.

NZ A squad

Tom Bruce (c)
Todd Astle
Tom Blundell (wk)
Mark Chapman
Jacob Duffy
Kyle Jamieson
Cole McConchie
Jimmy Neesham
Ollie Newton
Ajaz Patel
Glenn Phillips
Rachin Ravindra
George Worker

Not considered in either squads due to injury: Trent Boult (right hand), Lockie Ferguson (right calf), Matt Henry (left thumb), Tom Latham (right pinky), Doug Bracewell (knee), Will Young (right shoulder), Adam Milne (ankle), Seth Rance (Achilles), (Nathan Smith (hip).

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