Wellington Firebirds speedster Ben Sears has received his maiden BLACKCAPS call-up for the upcoming Pakistan and Bangladesh series' starting next month.
The 23-year-old paceman joins fellow Firebirds Finn Allen, Hamish Bennett, Tom Blundell and Rachin Ravindra in the squad that will also be led by Firebirds head coach Glenn Pocknall.
Sears has shown huge promise since graduating through the Cricket Wellington pathway system into the Firebirds in 2018.
A former New Zealand Under 19 internatonal, Sears is one of the fastest bowlers in the country and showed his talent in last year's Dream11 Super Smash campaign claiming nine wickets in seven matches and the men's competition's best figures of 4-21 against the Otago Volts.
Wellington Firebirds all-rounder Michael Bracewell would have also been selected for the Bangladesh T20s and Pakistan ODIs, but made himself unavailable as he awaits the birth of his first child.
Meanwhile Devon Conway and Jimmy Neesham have been selected in the BLACKCAPS squad for the ICC World T20 in October, as well as three T20 internationals against India.
Both players are currently in the UK playing in the inaugural Hundred competition - Conway will return home to New Zealand befrore departing for the World Cup, while Neesham will be allowed to rejoin the Mumbia Indians for the prematurely suspended Indian Premier League competition which is scheduled to be completed in September.
Player and staff welfare will take on extra significance throughout the tours this winter as New Zealand Cricket attempts to balance the BLACKCAPS workloads over a four month-long period, incorporating the tours to Bangladesh, Pakistan, and India, as well as the ICC T20 World Cup in the UAE.
While the Test squad to tour India will not be announced for another month or so, the BLACKCAPS white-ball squads will comprise a total of 32 players, as well as a new-look coaching staff which comprises of Pocknall who will lead the Pakistan and Bangladesh tours.
The first BLACKCAPS squad will depart for Bangladesh on the 23rd of this month and the players from the Test tour to India will return home and emerge from MIQ just before Christmas.
NZC chief executive David White said changing times demanded changing strategies, with player welfare and support now one of professional sport’s biggest challenges, particularly in the current pandemic environment.
“The need to safeguard the well-being of our players and support staff is now very real, and we’ve endeavoured to do this by carefully managing their workloads over this winter’s massive playing programme,” said Mr White.
He said the decision had the backing of the NZC Board and the New Zealand Cricket Players Association.
“I’m satisfied we’ve selected strong squads for all our touring commitments this winter.
“As the BLACKCAPS proved in England earlier this year, we have good depth in the New Zealand game and I’m confident all the squads chosen will acquit themselves well.”
Mr White confirmed that those BLACKCAPS involved in the prematurely suspended IPL21 would be allowed to re-join their franchises, and complete the competition when it re-starts in September.
“It’s a pragmatic approach,” said Mr White. “We’ve always tried to be realistic about the IPL and this particular issue is very much a one-off, caused by a unique set of circumstances.”
BLACKCAPS squad for ICC T20 World Cup and India T20s
Kane Williamson (c)
Tim Seifert (wk)
*Adam Milne (injury cover)
*Adam Milne has been selected as the 16th man and will join the team for the tournament but can only be called upon to replace a player in the squad in the event of an injury.
Coaching Staff: Gary Stead, Shane Jurgensen, Luke Ronchi, (fourth coach TBA)
BLACKCAPS squad for Bangladesh T20s & Pakistan ODIs
Tom Latham (c) (wk)
Tom Blundell (wk)
Colin de Grandhomme
Matt Henry (ODI only)
Ben Sears (T20 only)
Coaching Staff: Glenn Pocknall, Graeme Aldridge, Tilan Samaraweera
BLACKCAPS squad for Pakistan T20s
Coaching Staff: Shane Jurgensen, Glenn Pocknall, Graeme Aldridge, Tilan Samaraweera
BLACKCAPS winter fixtures
Bangladesh – Five T20 Internationals
Pakistan – Three ODIs and five T20 Internationals
ICC T20 World Cup – Group 1 (India, Pakistan, Afghanistan + two more teams to be added)
India – Three T20 Internationals and two Tests
Article added: Tuesday 10 August 2021