Blackcaps vs Sri Lanka: Jimmy Neesham injury gifts Doug Bracewell selection lifeline

Jilted Blackcaps all-rounder Doug Bracewell may get his chance to impress against Sri Lanka, after replacing injured Jimmy Neesham for Friday's T20 clash at Auckland's Eden Park.

With World Cup selection on the line, Bracewell was the only player not used against the tourists during the one-day series sweep, even for Tuesday's 'dead' fixture in Nelson. His omission caused quite a stir among cricket commentators, but coach Gary Stead made no apologies.

"It is international sport and not everyone gets a go, and Doug understands that as well," he said. "It was the plan to share a bit of game-time there, but [captain Kane Williamson] and I spoke about it.

"After James did what he did, it was very hard and probably sending the wrong message to him to leave him out after that, so that's why he played all three."

After several months out of the national team, Neesham returned to star with both bat and ball against the tourists during the three-game series.

Neesham clubbed 34 runs - including fix sixes - in one over, before removing openers Niroshan Dickwella and Danushka Gunathilaka, just as they looked threatening in the opener.

He compiled 64 runs off 37 balls and had Gunathilaka's wicket again in the second encounter, but was reduced to a cameo role in Tuesday's finale.

During that third outing at Nelson, Neesham tweaked his hammy and the Blackcaps are taking no chances, with another limited-overs assignment against India looming later this month.

Bracewell now looms as his replacement for the Sri Lankan T20 outing.

"Jimmy felt some tightness in his right hamstring during the bowling innings and left the field for treatment," said Blackcaps physio Vijay Vallabh.

"He's iced and compressed the injury, and will be reassessed in a couple of days."

New Zealand: Tim Southee, Doug Bracewell, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Scott Kuggeleijn, Colin Munro, Henry Nicholls, Glenn Phillips, Seth Rance, Mitchell Santner, Tim Seifert, Ish Sodhi, Ross Taylor

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