New Zealand rest stars for Africa tour

New Zealand

Brendon McCullum and Tim Southee will not travel with New Zealand for their limited-overs tour of Zimbabwe and South Africa in August.

The Black Caps begin their tour of Southern Africa with three one-day internationals and a T20 against Zimbabwe before taking on the Proteas in two T20s and another three ODIs.

Adam Milne and James Neesham return to the squad after recovering from long-term injuries and will be looking to make an instant impact to cement their places.

Ish Sodhi, an inexperienced 22-year-old leg spinner, has been included for the Zimbabwe stint of the tour where pitches are expected to be slow, but will be replaced by right-arm quick Doug Bracewell for the games against South Africa.

"We think Ish will be useful on pitches which tend to be slow and take turn, and against a Zimbabwe team stacked with right-handers," said New Zealand coach and selector Mike Hesson.

"But we're unlikely to need a third spinner in South Africa, which is why we've opted for another seamer in Doug."

Hesson is confident New Zealand will not suffer without Southee and McCullum and, while he concedes it presents a good opportunity for others to prove themselves, he believes the squad is strong enough to continue the Black Caps impressive run.

"There are chances there for batsmen such as Tom [Latham] and Colin [Munro], for Ish and for a handful of bowlers. And, not least, it's another good opportunity for Kane Williamson to continue upskilling in terms of leadership.

"This is a team which has built up an impressive record on the international circuit in recent times and the expectation is that we continue to perform, regardless of who might be missing.

"We were also without some key players on last summer's away series against Pakistan, and still managed to win 3-2 thanks to other players stepping up.

"Our focus is on continuing to produce strong team performances, rather than be distracted by the presence or absence of specific individuals."

New Zealand squad

Kane Williamson (capt), Grant Elliott, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Mitchell McClenaghan, Nathan McCullum, Adam Milne, Colin Munro, James Neesham, Luke Ronchi (wk), Mitchell Santner, Ross Taylor, Ben Wheeler, Doug Bracewell (South Africa only), Ish Sodhi (Zimbabwe only)

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