New Zealand have welcomed the pace attack that took them to within a hair’s breadth of a maiden World Cup triumph back into their ODI squad.
After beating India 3-0 in the ODIs at home, New Zealand travel to Australia this month, where they have never won a one-day series before.
And having missed that convincing series win against India, Trent Boult, Lockie Ferguson and Matt Henry have all been declared fit for the series in Australia. Kyle Jamieson retains his spot, following an impressive display in the Test series against India, with Hamish Bennett and Scott Kuggeleijn the men to miss out.
All three returning seamers were injured for, or during, New Zealand’s Test series defeat in Australia, but have resumed playing since. Ferguson and Henry have both played one first-class game and two 50-over fixtures since their returns, while Boult starred in the Test series win against India.
Ferguson told New Zealand media that he was determined not to rush back into top-flight cricket, but now he’s fully good to go.* “With my role and the style of cricket I play, trying to bowl quick for long periods of time, it’s hard to rush back. Early on in my career I rushed back a couple of times, wanting to play for Auckland, and potentially came back too early. But now I know my body really well and I know if I get good game time under my belt, then I’ll have confidence and I can just focus on the game and my overs.
“I was sort of not bowling much month and a half ago, two months ago, but now back to fully playing and you sort of forget the times you were sitting on the couch – it’s just great to be out playing and I’m excited to get out amongst the Black Caps group again.”
With Jamieson coming through so spectacularly in the India Test series, the competition for places in the New Zealand XI has gone up a notch. Ferguson welcomed the challenge, and credited a strong domestic-cricket structure for putting New Zealand in this enviable position. “I think it’s great – I’m a huge believer in competition within a squad, I think it drives the team to be better. It speaks to the depth we have in domestic cricket, which doesn’t get talked about as much as it should – our domestic game is actually extremely good. We play on good tracks and it’s tough cricket, and that’s now showing through with the Black Caps.
“I think that kind of competition within the squad is only going to make us grow stronger. Sure, it makes us who have played think ‘Oh gosh, I’ve got to work harder’, but that’s surely the best thing possible – if we’re all working harder and trying to get better, then the team’s going to be better for it.”
Head coach Gary Stead was equally pleased to have such a strong bowling line-up – and in-form squad – at his disposal. “Playing Australia in Australia is one of the great challenges in world cricket and you know you will be severely tested in all aspects of the game. Our one-day unit is a pretty settled one with plenty of experience and I think that showed in the recent series against India.
“It’s great to welcome back the class of Trent, Matt and Lockie who spearheaded our run to the World Cup final last year. Kyle’s made every post a winner since his international debut this season and he’ll be a handy asset to have in Australia.”
New Zealand ODI squad: Kane Williamson (c), Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham (wk), Jimmy Neesham, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor
*4am GMT, March 4: Lockie Ferguson’s quotes were added to the article.