New Zealand announce T20I squad for Pakistan series

Kane Williamson was named on Wednesday to return from injury and lead New Zealand in their Twenty20 international home series against Pakistan.

World class batsman Williamson missed last month’s ODI and T20 series against Bangladesh while he rehabilitated a knee injury sustained nine months ago.

The 33-year-old recovered to play in the 50-over World Cup and a two-Test series in Bangladesh but was rested from white ball commitments last month as a precaution.

Williamson’s controlled return will include a rest in game three of the five-match Pakistan series starting on January 12.

Allrounder Mitchell Santner will lead the Black Caps in that match in Dunedin.

Opening batter Devon Conway returns after also missing both white ball series against Bangladesh, while pace bowlers Matt Henry and Lockie Ferguson will both make their first international appearances since being injured during the World Cup.

Seamer Kyle Jamieson and spinner Michael Bracewell were not considered because of ongoing injuries while a notable omission from the 15-man squad is allrounder Rachin Ravindra, who scored 578 runs in a series of breakout innings at the World Cup.

Coach Gary Stead said Ravindra was in need of rest.

“Rachin’s a young player who has immense value to New Zealand Cricket and we therefore want to look after his well-being,” Stead said.

“He’s the only player or staff member to have been touring non-stop for the past five months across five countries and that’s simply not sustainable.

“He’s still very much part of our thinking for the T20 World Cup in June and will come back into the reckoning for the T20 series against Australia in February.”

New Zealand squad: Kane Williamson (capt), Devon Conway, Finn Allen, Tim Seifert, Daryl Mitchell, Glenn Phillips, Mark Chapman, Josh Clarkson, Mitchell Santner, Matt Henry, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Lockie Ferguson, Adam Milne, Ben Sears

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