New Zealand include Ferguson, Bracewell and Allen in squad for T20 World Cup

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Auckland, Sep 20 : New Zealand have made three changes to the squad for the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia next month from the side that featured in the World Cup final last year in the UAE, bringing in Lockie Ferguson, Michael Bracewell and Finn Allen in place of Kyle Jamieson, Todd Astle and Tim Seifert. Two players who recently declined the New Zealand Cricket (NZC) central contract -- Trent Boult and Jimmy Neesham -- also find a place in the squad and so does Finn Allen, who is one of the newest players to bag a central contract. The side once again will be captained by batting stalwart Kane Williamson, who will be at the helm of the T20 World Cup team for the third time, according to ICC. New Zealand have a strong pace attack consisting of Boult, Ferguson, Tim Southee, and Adam Milne. Ish Sodhi will lead the spin attack and will be supported by Bracewell and Mitchell Santner. Bracewell made his New Zealand debut in 2022 but has quickly become an important cog in the wheel. He has come up with a series of good performances with the bat and has been rewarded with a place in the squad for the marquee event. Glenn Phillips, Daryl Mitchell, Santner, Bracewell and Neesham give the squad the balance with their ability to contribute both with the bat and ball. Devon Conway has been named as the front-line wicket-keeper after wearing the gloves in the UAE last year and the recent series against West Indies. Of those who featured in last year's World Cup squad, Jamieson wasn't considered as he continues his rehabilitation from a back injury, while Todd Astle and Tim Seifert have missed selection. New Zealand will first contest the T20 Tri Series with Pakistan and Bangladesh starting in Christchurch on October 7. With seven matches across eight days at Hagley Oval, the Tri Series will provide fans their last chance to see the team before they depart for Australia on October 15. "It's always a special time announcing a World Cup squad and I'd like to congratulate the 15 players selected today," said New Zealand coach Gary Stead. "It's especially exciting for Finn and Michael who are set for their first ICC events, while Martin Guptill is preparing for his seventh T20 World Cup -- which in itself is an incredible achievement. It's great to have this tournament so soon after last year's event in which we played some really good cricket, but couldn't quite get over the line at the end. "With the nucleus of that squad retained along with the exciting additions of Finn and Michael, we should go into the tournament with plenty of optimism." Stead said the Tri Series beforehand should provide high quality preparation for the World Cup. "Along with the all-important game time, those matches will be a great chance to refine our combinations and game-plans ahead of our departure to Australia." New Zealand open their T20 World Cup campaign against Australia at the SCG on October 22, before facing Afghanistan (MCG), England (Gabba) and two qualifiers at the SCG and Adelaide Oval respectively. Squad: Kane Williamson (c), Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi, Mitchell Santner, Glenn Phillips, Jimmy Neesham, Daryl Mitchell, Adam Milne, Martin Guptill, Lockie Ferguson, Devon Conway, Mark Chapman, Michael Bracewell, Trent Boult, Finn Allen. /IANS




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