Opening batsman Tom Latham and pace-bowling all-rounder James Neesham have replaced Jesse Ryder and Doug Bracewell in the New Zealand squad for the second Test against India.
Ryder and Bracewell have been dropped (for the second Test) as well as fined for staying at an Auckland pub till the early hours of February 6, the first day of the opening Test.
The left-handed Latham is rated among the most promising batsmen in the country. He has represented New Zealand in 13 ODIs with limited success but the selection panel has looked at his first-class record before picking him.
The 21-year-old Christchurch-born cricketer has 2341 runs in 36 first class matches at 41.80.
New Zealand selection panel head Bruce Edgar said, “Tom is an incredibly exciting prospect and has constantly been pushing for selection.”
Latham could find a place in the eleven if Ross Taylor’s second child is not born before the second Test, starting here on February 14.
Interestingly, he is the son of Rod Latham who made his name bowling effective dibbly dobby seamers and wielding the bat usefully in the ODIs.
The 23-year-old Neesham can bowl at speeds close to 140 kmph and can strike the ball hard.
Edgar said, “We see James as a genuine all-rounder, who can play a number of roles for us.”
Neesham has turned out for New Zealand in 11 ODIs and made his presence felt but the selectors have gone by his first-class record for Test selection.
A left-handed bat and a right-arm seamer, Neesham has 1054 runs and 58 wickets from 23 first-class matches.