Frontline fast bowlers Matt Henry and Lockie Ferguson are set to return to the Black Caps fold in the upcoming T20 series against Pakistan, two months after injuries curtailed their World Cup.
Captain Kane Williamson and opening batsman Devon Conway also return for the five-match series after being rested from the Bangladesh tour.
Williamson will miss the third T20 of the series as he continues to manage his knee injury, with Central Districts’ Josh Clarkson called in as cover for the match and Mitchell Santner to stand in as skipper.
Rachin Ravindra was not considered as a replacement for Williamson as he has been given a period of rest following several months on the road with the national team.
Ferguson is scheduled to return to action via the Auckland Aces, for whom he will play three Super Smash games over the next two weeks before joining the Black Caps squad for the final three games of the T20 series.
His absence means 25-year-old fast-bowler Ben Sears has been included for the opening two games of the Pakistan series, continuing his run in the T20 side after impressing in the recent series against Bangladesh.
Speaking to media this morning, coach Gary Stead said this was the first step in preparation for the T20 World Cup in June.
“We always targeted this as a real start to the lead up to the T20 World Cup. It’s great to play Pakistan, obviously finalists in the last World Cup, and a huge threat especially in the T20 arena. It’ll be a great challenge for us.
“It’s great to have Kane and Devon back. I think if you look at the last series we probably missed the experience that they have in key situations, so when you bring that back in you certainly look around and think of a more mature, experienced batting unit.”
On the return of Henry and his inclusion in the T20 squad, Stead said the Canterbury pace bowler was likely competing for one of the final spots in the World Cup squad and was excited to see him return to the national fold.
Black Caps T20 squad v Pakistan:
Kane Williamson (c) (games 1,2,4 & 5)
Josh Clarkson (game 3 only)
Devon Conway (wk)
Lockie Ferguson (games 3,4 & 5)
Mitchell Santner (captain for game 3)
Ben Sears (games 1 & 2)
Tim Seifert (wk)