Cricket: Does this side really deserve NZ label?Save
By David Leggat
New Zealand's selection of their ODI cricket squad for a tri-series against hosts Ireland and Bangladesh poses interesting questions.
First the name. Should this team not be called, say, New Zealand A, rather than minus the A? Remember, 10 leading players are unavailable as they are involved in the Indian Premier League.
It runs the risk of an accusation that caps are being given away, rather than truly earned, and is likely a New Zealand record for non-injury related absentees.
This is not New Zealand's best ODI squad and, to be fair, there have been no claims to that effect.
So should this group - all past or current international players, and a handful of uncapped but high performing domestic players - be called New Zealand?
Once this tri-series, which leads into the Champions Trophy in England, had been confirmed should it have been scaled down by NZC, knowing it would be a below full strength squad, thus denying international status to the games?
Have a guess what the Irish, in particular, and Bangladesh think of that? Doubtless Ireland, who crave full international activity, would feel shortchanged.
And to extrapolate, would NZC have been entitled to call back the players they wanted to be in Ireland from the IPL, on the basis international commitments take precedence over a domestic T20 competition?
That would really please the players, who stand to make significant amounts of extra pocket money from their IPL contracts, and, without wanting to over-dramatise, might it also have unfortunate repercussions for New Zealand in their dealings with India?
Players in the IPL can be called to the tri-series once their T20 commitments are over.
The risk there is that those players for whom this trip could benefit most - the uncapped or returning players who have been missing a while - might not get much chance after all, depending on when the big names join the show.
Take Seth Rance, a 29-year-old seamer who has just completed his ninth season with Central Districts.
He has a deserved reputation as a respected operator who goes about his business under the radar.
His List A and T20 numbers are good. He deserves a chance, and evidently was under serious consideration for selection at one point during the home international season, on merit, as opposed to filling a hole.
This shapes as his opportunity to put his name in the frame for further consideration in the months ahead. You'd hope he gets it.
NZC have had a more relaxed attitude towards the IPL since its inception in 2008 than some other countries.
It may have been through gritted teeth at times, but they have allowed players to skip early matches on tours of England, as long as they were on deck for the first test of those series.
The same will apply this time, in the sense that New Zealand, at full strength, will be ready for the start of the Champions Trophy, against Australia in Edgbaston on June 3 (NZT).
But you suspect some of the players going to Ireland should make the most of the trip.