Two months after being sidelined with a hamstring injury midway through the World Cup in India, fast bowler Matt Henry is set to make his highly anticipated comeback in the upcoming five-match Twenty20 International series against Pakistan. Before joining the national team the following week, Henry will put his body to the test this Friday, January 5, when he plays for the Canterbury Kings in the Super Smash event.
Kane Williamson is also named on the 13-man roster and is the captain. The seasoned batsman was supposed to play in the Twenty20 Internationals against Bangladesh, which would have been his first time back in the competition since November 2022. He was later removed from that series, though, out of prudence and with an eye towards workload management. He will not play in the third Twenty20 International (in Dunedin), where Mitchell Santner will assume captaincy, per a well-crafted agreement.
Squad: Tim Seifert (wk), Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Matt Henry, Adam Milne, Daryl Mitchell, Glenn Phillips, Mitchell Santner, Ben Sears [games 1 & 2], Finn Allen, Mark Chapman, Josh Clarkson [game 3 only], Devon Conway (wk), Lockie Ferguson [games 3, 4 & 5].
Lockie Ferguson will make his comeback for the final three games of the series after missing the first three due to an Achilles injury, while the Black Caps will also welcome back opener Devon Conway, who was rested for the Bangladesh series. Ben Sears, a 25-year-old fast bowler, will therefore only be available for the first two games before Ferguson returns to the field.
While Michael Bracewell is still healing from an Achilles ailment, Kyle Jamieson will continue to miss games as he works to heal a hamstring issue. Due to obligations on the T20 circuit, Trent Boult and James Neesham are also not included in the team.
“With just three T20I series left before the T20 World Cup, all matches are vitally important for our preparation,” Gary Stead, our head coach, remarked. “We’re happy to have Matt, Devon, Lockie, and Kane back. These four are excellent athletes in their own right, and our team will benefit from their knowledge and abilities.”
On January 12, the first match of the five-match series will take place at Eden Park.