16 Jan 2020

Bennett called into Black Caps T20 squad

6:08 am on 16 January 2020

Veteran Wellington bowler Hamish Bennett has been called up to the Black Caps squad to face India in five T20s, starting at Eden Park next Friday.

Wellington Firebirds skipper Hamish Bennett celebrates the wicket of Otago's Anaru Kitchen during the Ford Trophy one-day final.

Hamish Bennett celebrates taking a wicket. Photo: Photosport

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

Selector Gavin Larsen said the recall 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 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 Black Caps 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 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.

All-rounder Daryl Mitchell is also in the squad.

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 (Mitchell) 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."


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 Black Caps 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 paceman Ollie Newton and a return of Otago 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), (Nathan Smith (hip).