`Uncapped` Bruce, Wheeler named in NZ T20 squad against B’desh

Wellington [New Zealand]: The uncapped duo of Tom Bruce and Ben Wheeler has been named in the 14-man New Zealand squad for the three-match T20 series against Bangladesh beginning January 3.

Confirming the news, New Zealand national selector Gavin Larsen said Central Districts batsman Bruce has been one of the leading players in the recent domestic T20 competition, adding that his inclusion would surely boost the squad’s hitting power.

“Tom has been one of the leading players in the Super Smash [the domestic T20 competition] the past two years and is one of the cleanest strikers of a cricket ball in the country. He has averaged 76 at a strike-rate of 174 so far this season, so Tom has proven himself to be a very dangerous player,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Larsen as saying.

Left-arm pace-bowling all-rounder Wheeler, who is yet to play a T20 international, has appeared in six ODIs for the Kiwis between June and August 2015.

Larsen believes Ben’s ability to swing the ball at a decent clip could trouble batsmen in the upcoming T20 series.

“Ben has put in a lot of hard work to get to this point again, so we’re looking forward to having him back in the mix. His ability to swing the ball at a decent clip can trouble any batsman, as he has shown in domestic cricket this season,” the selector said.

All-rounder Corey Anderson, who has been plagued by a back injury for most of the 2016 season, has also been recalled in the squad.

While fast bowler Trent Boult has been selected but rested for the first of the three T20Is, fellow quick Tim Southee has been rested for the entire series in preparation for the two Tests that follow.

Ross Taylor, who recently underwent a surgery to remove a benign growth in his left eye after the Hamilton Test against Pakistan in late November, was also been left out for the series.

He, however, would return to domestic T20 cricket within the next few days, according to Larsen.

The New Zealand squad:Kane Williamson (capt), Corey Anderson, Trent Boult, Tom Bruce, Colin de Grandhomme, Martin Guptill, Lockie Ferguson, Matt Henry, Colin Munro, James Neesham, Luke Ronchi (wk), Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Ben Wheeler . (ANI)