The New Zealand squad for the two-Test series against India contains no surprises.
The selection panel has displayed faith in the side that outplayed the West Indies 2-0 earlier this summer.Taylor doubtful
However, Ross Taylor might miss one of the two Tests since his wife is expecting their second child. Jesse Ryder is travelling with the side as a cover for Taylor.
The first Test begins in Auckland on February 6 and the second, in Wellington, on February 14.
There was some debate here ahead of the selection about opener Peter Fulton retaining his spot.
The tall batsman made a telling comeback against England at home last season but has subsequently run into rough weather with his form.
But New Zealand coach Mike Hesson backed Fulton.
The contenders to the spot were Martin Guptill — among the runs in the ongoing ODI series — and Tom Latham.
Fulton and Hamish Rutherford will open the innings.
With skipper Brendon McCullum playing as a pure batsman, Bradley Watling continues as the wicketkeeper-batsman in the side.
The side has six specialist batsmen — Fulton, Rutherford, Kane Williamson, Taylor, McCullum and Ryder. Walting is a capable batsman as well.
The squad possesses four pacemen — Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner and Doug Bracewell — and a lone spinner in leggie Ish Sodhi.
Current rage Corey Anderson is the pace bowling allrounder.Boult to lead the attack
The attack will be led by incisive left-arm seamer Boult. He was in top form in 2013 with 46 scalps in 12 Tests at 25.08.
Swing bowler Tim Southee too has been influential with 36 wickets in eight Tests at 24.94.
Hesson wants green pitches for the Tests but indicated he was unlikely to go in with an all-pace attack. “Even if it is a green wicket, it is not green for all five days. Even if your seamers are able to do the job in the first two or three days, you have got some variation coming over the back-end. It will have to be very, very green for us not to play a spinner.”
Sodhi, who has a useful wrong ‘un, came in for praise from Hesson. “He’s confident and he is the best spinner in the country. And he’s only 21.”
Given the conditions, the side has balance.
The New Zealand squad: B. McCullum (captain), P. Fulton, H. Rutherford, K. Williamson, R. Taylor, C. Anderson, B.J. Watling, T. Southee, T. Boult, D. Bracewell, Ish Sodhi, N. Wagner, J. Ryder.