New Zealand Name Michael Bracewell, Cam Fletcher for England Test Tour; Rachin Ravindra Returns

Wellington Firebirds founder Michael Bracewell has wrapped up an impressive season by being included in the BLACKCAPS Test team for the upcoming tour of England.

The 31-year-old got his first calls in T20I and One Day International over the last summer and impressed in his first ODI series against the Netherlands.

The expanded 20-man squad will also see Canterbury wicketkeeper Cam Fletcher and Central Stags paceman Blair Tickner launch their first round with the New Zealand Test team, following the recent call-ups for the home Test series against South Africa in Christchurch in February.

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With five New Zealand players in the IPL unlikely to be available for the two warm-up matches in Hove (May 20-23) and Chelmsford (May 26-29), the initial 20-man squad will be reduced to 15 before the match. The three tests are against England, the first of which begins at Lords on 2 June.

Besides the valuable points for the ICC World Test Championship (WTC) on the streak, the tour will also mark the one-year anniversary of the NZ’s historic away win over England, which was followed by their victory over India in the inaugural WTC Final in Southampton.

Of the 15 players from the final WTC lineup, 13 players will return for this round to England, with Ross Taylor and PJ Watling having since retired.

along with Brasswell, Fletcher and Tickner; The Otago Volt’s seasoned pair of batsman Hamish Rutherford and swing bowler Jacob Duffy are included, while 22-year-old Rachin Ravindra is also back.

Fletcher has been named the second wicket-keeper alongside Tom Blondell, while Patel is cleared as the front-line player after his successful return with the ball in England and India last year.

The coaching staff at Gary Stead for the tour will once again introduce the addition of a fourth support coach – to be confirmed prior to departure, along with the familiar faces of Shane Jorgensen (bowling) and Luke Ronchi (batting).

With another big winter of whiteball cricket to follow the Test round immediately, NZC will once again prioritize player and staff welfare by managing workloads for the next 14 weeks.

The team will play series in Ireland (3x ODI & 3x T20I), Scotland (2x T20I & 1x ODI) in July and the Netherlands (2x T20I) in early August, followed immediately thereafter by a tour to the West Indies (3x T20I & 3x ODI) – with lineups Final round and training sets to be confirmed soon.

New Zealand national football team for the England tour

Ken Williamson (c) (Northern Counties)

Tom Blondel (week) (Wellington Firebirds)

Trent Bolt (Northern Territories)

Michael Bracewell (Wellington Firebirds)

Devon Conway (Wellington Firebirds)

Colin de Grandhomme (Northern Provinces)

Jacob Duffy (Otago Volt)

Cameron Fletcher (Canterbury)

Matt Henry (Canterbury)

Kyle Jamieson (Auckland Aces)

Tom Latham (Canterbury)

Daryl Mitchell (Canterbury)

Henry Nichols (Canterbury)

Ijaz Battle (Central Stages)

Rashin Ravindra (Wellington Firebirds)

Hamish Rutherford (Otago Volt)

Tim Southee (Northern Provinces)

Blair Tickner (Central Stages)

Neil Wagner (Northern Counties)

Will Young (Central Stages)

New Zealand coach Gary Stead said it was exciting to start another important period of cricket.

“It’s going to be a busy winter,” he said, “but we’re looking forward to embracing it as a group.”

“Recently we have seen the need to be flexible with teams, schedules and staff – and this winter will be no different.

“Obviously the red ball tour of England first is high on our priority list and we’re looking forward to getting to the ground in a couple of weeks.

“Touring England is always a special occasion with the people, the lands and the history that all make for a great experience.

“The English are always strong in their own circumstances and they have many talented players to call upon.

“There’s a reason we’ve only won a couple of Test series there and we know we have to be at our best to do it again.

“It’s an especially exciting time for Michael and Cam, who will be heading away with New Zealand for the first time.

“They got a taste of the environment this summer and I’m sure they’ll be looking forward to the opportunity to tour with the side and all the extra things that come with it.”

Stead said that with five players away in the IPL and two others (Will Young in Northamptonshire, Colin de Grandhome in Surrey) playing county cricket – there would be a need to transfer a significant number to the team before the series.

“Everything we will plan will everyone be fit and available for the first test at Lord’s, and we aim to announce our final 15-man squad for this series as soon as we finish the warm-up matches.”

He added that with such an extended schedule away from home, the well-being and welfare of players and staff will once again be paramount.

“Last season I thought we’ve aligned our resources really well to ensure the well-being of our people is prioritized and we will be looking to do that again with whiteball cricket in July and August.

“This means that no player or staff will be with the team for the 14 weeks while we are away, as we are balancing the workload.

“We are only six months away from the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia and we will also continue to prioritize as much planning and preparation as possible for this.”

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