New Zealand weigh work­load wor­ries ahead of ODI se­ries

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

New Zealand’s de­sire for a con­fi­dence-boost­ing lim­ited overs se­ries against Bangladesh, start­ing to­mor­row, has been tem­pered by the need to ease the work­loads of Tim Southee and Trent Boult.

From the high of win­ning a Test se­ries against Pak­istan in Novem­ber the switch to the shorter game brought the New Zealan­ders sharply back to earth early this month when ham­mered 3-0 by Aus­tralia. The three ODIs against Bangladesh, which be­gin in Christchurch on Box­ing Day, of­fer a shot at re­demp­tion but coach Mike Hes­son is wary about the pos­si­bil­ity of burnout with home se­ries against Aus­tralia and South Africa to fol­low. “It’s al­ways a bal­anc­ing act with guys that play all three forms, es­pe­cially the bowlers,” Hes­son said Satur­day, con­firm­ing Boult will sit out the last ODI, Southee will miss the three T20s that fol­low, and other play­ers may also be rested. Fol­low­ing the Aus­tralia drub­bing, New Zealand re­sisted the urge for whole­sale changes but did re­call vet­er­ans Neil Broom and Luke Ronchi.

Only six play­ers re­main from the squad of 15 who took New Zealand to the World Cup fi­nal last year and although the side is re­build­ing, se­lec­tor Gavin Larsen said “it’s very im­por­tant that we do see im­prove­ments dur­ing the home sum­mer”.

With Ross Tay­lor side­lined fol­low­ing eye surgery, and Test glove­man BJ Watling not per­form­ing as ex­pected in Aus­tralia, the se­lec­tors are look­ing to the ex­pe­ri­enced 33-year-old Broom and Ronchi, 35, to shore up the side.

It is nearly seven years since Broom last played an ODI for New Zealand, but at do­mes­tic level “he has an im­pres­sive strike-rate and ob­vi­ously fills the num­ber four role with Ross out in­jured”, Larsen said. Ronchi, who did play in the 2015 World Cup, is re­called af­ter a string of low scores saw him dropped from the re­cent Aus­tralia se­ries.

Bangladesh, at seven in the ODI rank­ings and three places be­low New Zealand, lost their rain-af­fected warm up game to a New Zealand XI by three wick­ets, but did find in­spi­ra­tion in the per­for­mance of 21-year-old pace bowler Mustafizur Rah­man. Mustafizur took two wick­ets in his first com­pet­i­tive match in five months fol­low­ing shoul­der surgery while all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan chimed in with 3-41. Test cap­tain Mush­fiqur Rahim also showed him­self in form with the bat, scor­ing 45 off 41 de­liv­er­ies while Soumya Sarkar added 40 to Bangladesh’s 245-8 off 43 overs. Fol­low­ing the first ODI in Christchurch on Mon­day, the sec­ond and third matches will be played in Nel­son on De­cem­ber 29 and 31 with three T20s and two Tests to fol­low. — AFP

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