Squads for BLACKCAPS tour of West Indies and NZA tour of England named.

Ronchi and Craig in line for BLACKCAPS Test debut

Wellington Firebirds wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi and Otago Volts off-spinner Mark Craig are the new caps named today in the BLACKCAPS squad for the tour to the West Indies starting later next month.

The pair's selection is the highlight of the 15-strong squad named today to play three Tests in Jamaica, Trinidad and Guyana in June. Also named today is a New Zealand A squad to tour England in July and August.

The BLACKCAPS selectors have gone for two spinners, two all-rounders and only three pace bowlers in what will be spin-friendly conditions in the Caribbean.

BLACKCAPS Test squad for tour to the West Indies
Brendon McCullum (c) - Otago Volts
Corey Anderson - Northern Knights
Trent Boult - Northern Knights
Mark Craig - Otago Volts
Peter Fulton - Canterbury Wizards
Tom Latham - Canterbury Wizards 
James Neesham - Otago Volts 
Luke Ronchi – Wellington Firebirds
Hamish Rutherford - Otago Volts
Ish Sodhi - Northern Knights
Tim Southee - Northern Knights 
Ross Taylor - Central Stags
Neil Wagner - Otago Volts 
BJ Watling - Northern Knights
Kane Williamson - Northern Knights

BLACKCAPS Head Coach Mike Hesson says Ronchi, a regular member of the BLACKCAPS limited overs teams but making his debut in the Test squad, has been named as the back-up keeper in the squad with Tom Latham included purely as a specialist batsman.

“Luke also provides us with middle order batting cover as he’s a good player of spin bowling.”

Hesson says that the 27-year-old Craig provides a nice balance with leg spinner Ish Sodhi.

"Mark has had a strong Plunket Shield taking 22 wickets and his right-arm off-spinners will be valuable against their left-handed heavy top order batting line-up. He’s been in our sights for some time and was also chosen for our winter training squad.”

Hesson confirmed that Daniel Vettori was not available for the tour saying he felt his bowling loads were not yet up to the intensity of Test cricket after major Achilles surgery last June. Jeetan Patel was also unavailable for the tour but for personal reasons.

Hesson is expecting a far more formidable challenge from the West Indies team compared with the injury-hit side that toured here this summer.

"While we gained a convincing 2-0 Test series victory against the West Indies in December they'll be a totally different kettle of fish in their conditions. And they’ll be driven to perform well in the first match which will be Chris Gayle’s 100th Test.”

Jesse Ryder and Doug Bracewell were not considered for either squads as they are yet to satisfy the selectors that they have their off-field issues under control.

A small number of specialist limited overs players will be added to the squad for the two Twenty20 matches at the end of the tour.

Meanwhile, the NZA side will play nine one-day matches against English county sides with two three-day matches to conclude the tour. Hesson said the matches would be a good opportunity to look more closely at a number of fringe players in the build-up to Cricket World Cup 2015.

New Zealand A squad for tour to England
BJ Watling (c) - Northern Knights
Hamish Bennett - Canterbury Wizards
Dean Brownlie - Canterbury Wizards 
Colin de Grandhomme - Auckland Aces
Anton Devcich - Northern Knights (returns after one-day matches)
Grant Elliott - Wellington Firebirds
Matt Henry - Canterbury Wizards
Scott Kuggeleijn - Northern Knights
Tom Latham - Canterbury Wizards
Adam Milne - Central Stags
Daryl Mitchell - Northern Knights
Colin Munro - Auckland Aces (returns after one-day matches)
Hamish Rutherford - Otago Volts
Ish Sodhi - Northern Knights (returns after one-day matches)

Added to the NZA squad for the two three-day matches:
Todd Astle - Canterbury Wizards
Michael Bracewell - Otago Volts
Mark Craig - Otago Volts

Schedule for the NZA tour to England
One-day match v Northamptonshire Thu 31 July, County Ground, Northampton
One-day match v Warwickshire Sat 2 August, Edgbaston, Birmingham
One-day match v Sri Lanka A Tues 5 August, County Ground, Taunton
One-day match v England Lions Fri 8 August, County Ground, Bristol
One-day match v Sri Lanka A Sat 9 August, County Ground, Bristol
One-day match v England Lions Tues 12 August, New Road, Worcester
One-day match v Scotland Fri 15 August, Cambusdoon New Ground, Ayr
One-day match v Scotland Sun 17 August, Cambusdoon New Ground, Ayr
One-day match v Scotland Thu 21 August, Grange Cricket Club, Edinburgh
Three-day match v KentMon 25 - Wed 27 August, St Lawrence Ground, Canterbury
Three-day match v Surrey Sun 31 Aug – Tues 2 Sept, Kia Oval, London

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