Cricket: Think Champions Trophy - think IPL playersSave
By David Leggat
When you see New Zealand's squad for the Champions Trophy, expected to be named on Monday, think the Indian Premier League.
Why? Because several New Zealand players are involved in the high-profile T20 competition there and they are either playing, or at least training to be ready to play, and that counts when you're selecting a squad out of season.
Several players walk into the 15-man squad, but there are some choices to be made. It's about covering all the possible bases, too.
One of the leading bowlers in the IPL, Mitchell McClenaghan, hasn't been seen in New Zealand colours since last March; his most recent ODI was the unfortunate day at Wellington against Pakistan 15 months ago when a ball flew through his grill and badly damaged his eye socket.
Injuries curtailed his activity in the New Zealand season.
Now consider in 48 ODIs he has taken 82 wickets at 28 runs apiece. In the IPL, he's taken nine wickets in six games, comfortably the table-topping Mumbai Indians' most successful bowler. He's in form, he's experienced and knows the short games.
Similarly, speedster Adam Milne is showing encouraging form for the Royal Challengers Bangalore, with three wickets from his two matches.
Expect Milne, who has been as injury-plagued as any New Zealand player in the last couple of years, to get the nod, ahead of Auckland quick Lockie Ferguson. However, Ferguson is likely to be in the group of players based in England on standby.
Jimmy Neesham, Colin de Grandhomme and Corey Anderson are likely to duel for the medium-pace/batting allround spot and circumstances may require at least two of them to play.
There's likely only room for two spinners and Wellington veteran Jeetan Patel has long been flagged to be in the squad, partly for his considerable experience of English conditions through his time at Warwickshire, and partly on his limited-overs cunning.
Left armer Mitchell Santner is coming off a good ODI summer. His bowling is an asset; his batting needs more productivity.
Trent Boult and Tim Southee are likely to lead the fast-medium attack; Luke Ronchi will take the keeping gloves and may be used as an opening option to Tom Latham.
There's room for one spare part player, with Henry Nicholls, averaging 27 in 11 ODIs but coming off a decent Ford Trophy campaign and established in the test batting lineup, a good chance.