Michael Bracewell to lead New Zealand in T20I series against Pakistan

AUCKLAND   -  New Zealand Cricket (NZC) on Wednesday announced a 15-member squad for the up­coming five-match T20I series against Pakistan under the lead­ership of allrounder Michael Bracewell. “Bracewell, who will skipper the team for the first time, has been side-lined since his most recent international appearance in March last year, firstly with a ruptured Achil­les and then with a broken finger,” NZC said in a press re­lease. “Since recovering he’s made a spectacular return to cricket, claiming his best first-class figures with the ball in his first match back in the Plunket Shield.” Bracewell last played for New Zealand in March last year before suffering a ruptured right Achillies injury during the T20 Blast in June and then a broken finger. He made his comeback during the Plunket Shield and claimed career-best bowling fig­ures of 8 for 41 while playing for Wellington against Otago. 

The squad features uncapped batter Tim Robinson and fast bowler Will O’Rourke, who rep­resented New Zealand in Test and ODI cricket earlier this sea­son. Colin Munro, Will Young and Tim Southee were unavail­able for selection, while some of the first-choice players opted out of the tour due to their com­mitments in the IPL. 

The Blackcaps squad will reach Pakistan on 14 April and will play three T20Is at the Pindi Cricket Stadium in Rawal­pindi on 18, 20 and 21 April. Following that, the action will move to Lahore, where the re­maining two T20Is of the series will be played on 25 and 27 April, respectively. 

NEW ZEALAND T20I SQUAD: Michael Bracewell (c), Finn Al­len, Mark Chapman, Josh Clark­son, Jacob Duffy, Dean Foxcroft, Ben Lister, Cole McConchie, Adam Milne, Jimmy Neesham, Will O’Rourke, Tim Robinson, Ben Sears, Tim Seifert, Ish Sodhi. 

JUNAID KHAN DISAPPOINT­ED OVER NEW ZEALAND TOP PLAYERS MISSING PAK TOUR 

Former pace bowler Junaid Khan has expressed disap­pointment over the absence of top New Zealand players in the squad for the tour of Pakistan. 

New Zealand’s first-choice players Trent Boult, Devon Conway, Lockie Ferguson, Matt Henry, Daryl Mitchell, Glenn Phillips, Rachin Ravindra, Mitch Santner and Kane Williamson opted out of the tour due to their commitments in the IPL. Junaid Khan took to his official X (formerly Twitter) account to voice concern over players missing out on an international series due to a franchise league. 

“It’s sad to see leagues are being prioritised over the team that gave them all the respect. 11/12 senior [New Zealand] players are not available for an international series,” he posted.

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