New Zealand selects team for SA tour

Daniel Vettori was confirmed as New Zealand’s 26th Test captain when he was chosen on Thursday to lead the New Zealand cricket team on next month’s two-test tour to South Africa.

Vettori replaces Stephen Fleming, New Zealand’s captain for the past decade, who was dropped from the position earlier this month after resigning the limited-overs captaincy. Fleming, however, retained his place in the 15-man Test squad as a specialist batsman.

Craig Cumming and Michael Papps were selected as the preferred opening partnership in the most contentious facet of the selection for Test matches in Johannesburg on November 8 to 12 and in Centurion from November 16 to 20.

“The selectors are looking to form a quality opening partnership,” coach John Bracewell said.

“Craig Cumming is the incumbent and is acknowledged as a quality player of pace, while Michael Papps is being rewarded after an excellent domestic season.”

Cumming opened the batting for New Zealand in its most recent Test series, against Sri Lanka in December, while Papps was the leading opener during New Zealand’s last domestic first-class season.

Bracewell said Papps had been selected “on sheer weight of numbers” while Cumming was seen to have the best technique to face fast bowling on bouncy South African wickets.

Ross Taylor, who made a strong start to his international career in limited-overs matches last season, has won a place in the squad amid strong competition for middle-order places. Peter Fulton, Scott Styris and Jacob Oram also have been chosen but Craig McMillan and Mathew Sinclair were omitted.

Taylor is expected to make his Test debut during the series as is right-arm fast bowler Mark Gillespie, who was New Zealand’s best bowler at the recent Twenty20 world series in South Africa.

The more-seasoned right-armer James Franklin was not considered because of a knee injury while Kyle Mills returns from injury to take a place with Gillespie, Shane Bond, Chris Martin and Michael Mason in New Zealand’s pace line-up.

The New Zealand team leaves for South Africa on October 18 and will play warmup matches against South Africa A at Bloemfontein and Potchefstroom ahead of the first test.

A squad to play one Twenty20 and three limited overs internationals against South Africa in late November and early December will be announced later.
- Sapa-AP


Daniel Vettori (captain), Shane Bond, Craig Cumming, Stephen Fleming, Mark Gillespie, Peter Fulton, Chris Martin, Michael Mason, Brendon McCullum, Kyle Mills, Jacob Oram, Michael Papps, Jeetan Patel, Scott Styris, Ross Taylor.

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