Kiwis name strong squad for Australia Tests

New Zealand

New Zealand have named their 15-man squad for the Test tour to Australia next month, and are back to full strength as Brendon McCullum returns to lead the side after his break from the game.

McCullum was rested for the tour to Africa recently, which Kane Williamson skippered, but now the big-hitting batsman is back, along with pacemen Trent Boult and Tim Southee, all-rounder Corey Anderson, and Ross Taylor.

Taylor left the tour while they were in Zimbabwe after picking up a groin injury and required surgery, but has been included. Opener Hamish Rutherford has also been added, with Martin Guptill and Tom Latham the other openers.

There's no room for Kruger van Wyk though, nor Neil Wagner, as Luke Ronchi will be wicketkeeper BJ Watling's deputy, while only four pacemen have been picked. Matt Henry and Doug Bracewell join Boult and Southee.

McCullum said of the trip, which will start with a day night match against a Prime Minister's XI on 23 October: "It's going to be a really tough series.

"I've said all the way along Australia, in their own conditions, are a formidable side regardless of how much experience or inexperience they possess.

"We're respectful of how tough a challenge it will be but at the same time I think we've got a team that has performed over a period of time.

"I'd rather have our team than theirs."

Coach Mike Hesson said of two all-rounders, Anderson and Jimmy Neesham, taking the place of an extra paceman: "A lot of our recent success has been based on the value of our No.6 batsman bowling some overs, and we're comfortable continuing in that vein.

"Rather than having an extra fast bowler not playing in Australia, we thought it more prudent for those in contention to remain in New Zealand and be playing domestic cricket."

New Zealand squad: Brendon McCullum (c), Corey Anderson, Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Mark Craig, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, James Neesham, Luke Ronchi, Hamish Rutherford, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, BJ Watling, Kane Williamson.

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