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Michael Bracewell announced New Zealand’s T20I skipper for Pakistan tour

April 3, 2024 3:53 PM IST

New Zealand sprung a surprise on Wednesday as they named all-rounder Michael Bracewell as their captain for this month’s five-match T20I series against Pakistan.

Bracewell has not played an international match since March last year and has only recently returned to domestic duties following injury concerns, including a ruptured Achilles and a broken finger, as per ICC.

This decision came as Kane Williamson and Mitchell Santner opted out of the tour due to their commitments in the Indian Premier League (IPL). Bracewell’s captaincy will provide valuable leadership for New Zealand in the series in Pakistan, offering both teams quality practice ahead of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in June.

New Zealand selector Sam Wells expressed his excitement about welcoming Bracewell back into the team and has full confidence in the 33-year-old’s ability to lead.

“Michael has faced a long period on the sidelines, and it is exciting to see him back playing cricket again,” Wells said, as quoted by ICC. “The fact that he is back playing at a high level after an Achilles rupture is a testament to his hard work and dedication.”

“He is a well-respected leader and has captaincy experience for Wellington along with New Zealand A and New Zealand XI teams, which we believe holds him in good stead to lead the group in Pakistan,” concluded Wells.

Bracewell will lead a youthful New Zealand side on the tour, with regulars such as Trent Boult, Devon Conway, Lockie Ferguson, Matt Henry, Daryl Mitchell, Glenn Phillips, Rachin Ravindra, Santner, and Williamson all missing due to their playing commitments in the IPL.

Other first-choice players like Will Young, Tim Southee, Colin Munro, and Tim Latham are also absent for various reasons. In their absence, hard-hitting opener Finn Allen, experienced all-rounder Jimmy Neesham, and veteran spinner Ish Sodhi are expected to lead the way.

Two players are also in line to make their T20I debut, with fast bowler Will O’Rourke earning a call-up after impressing on Test debut against Australia recently, and hard-hitting batter Tim Robinson included in the squad of 15 after some big knocks in domestic cricket in New Zealand.

Wells is optimistic about the duo’s potential if they get selected in the Playing XI in Pakistan.

“Tim is still very early in his domestic career, but his natural ability and explosive power were on full display this season,” Wells said.

“Combined with his outstanding fielding, we believe he has a skill-set that is well suited to the format. We have been delighted with Will’s early efforts in international cricket, in both the formats he has played so far. This tour will be an excellent chance for him to test his skills in foreign conditions,” he concluded.

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Last updated on: 16th April 2024