Blackcaps v India: Hamish Bennett earns NZ recall for T20 series

Veteran bowler Hamish Bennett is set to make his first appearance for the Blackcaps in almost three years, after being named in New Zealand's squad for the T20 series against India. 

The Wellington Firebirds seamer has been included in a 14-strong squad for the five-match series, which begins at Eden Park in Auckland next Friday.

With Trent Boult and Lockie Ferguson still recovering from injuries suffered during the test series against Australia, the Blackcaps selectors felt Bennett deserved a chance after strong performances in the domestic Super Smash.

His last match for New Zealand came in May 2017, during an five-wicket one-day loss to Bangladesh in Dublin. The 32-year-old hasn't played T20 cricket for the Blackcaps. 

"We're delighted to have Hamish back in the fold for what will be a huge series against India," said Blackcaps selector Gavin Larsen.

"Over the past few seasons, he's consistently been one of the top domestic white-ball bowlers and we've been impressed how he's been able to evolve his game.

"We all know he brings good pace and bounce, but it's the clever variations he's added that make him such a well-rounded T20 bowler."

Kane Williamson returns to lead the squad, after missing the England series in November with a hip injury, while Tom Bruce has been recalled, swapping out with Colin de Grandhomme for the final two games of the series.

All-rounder Daryl Mitchell has been preferred to Jimmy Neesham, who has been out with a quad injury. Instead, Neesham will play for New Zealand A in a one-day series against India A next week.

"The next few weeks will be really intense for our elite male cricketers and we're fully aware of the challenges ahead," Larsen added. "We're clearly wanting to win the series in front of us, while also considering our wider ICC T20 World Cup campaign plan. 

"We see both Daryl and Jimmy as important all-rounders in the T20 format. With a travelling squad of just 13 and the need to balance the options for the series, Daryl gets this opportunity against India as a reward for his consistent form."

Blackcaps T20 squad: Kane Williamson (c), Hamish Bennett, Tom Bruce (matches 4 & 5) Colin de Grandhomme (matches 1-3), Martin Guptill, Scott Kuggeleijn, Daryl Mitchell, Colin Munro, Mitchell Santner, Tim Seifert, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Blair Tickner.

India T20 squad: Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma (vc), Lokesh Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant, Shivam Dube, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Washington Sundar, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Navdeep Saini, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur.

Fixtures

  • Friday, January 24, 7.50pm: First T20 at Eden Park, Auckland,
  • Sunday, January 26, 7.50pm: Second T20 at Eden Park, Auckland
  • Wednesday, ​January 29, 8pm: Third T20 at Seddon Park, Hamilton
  • Friday, ​January 31, 8pm: Fourth T20 at Sky Stadium, Wellington
  • Sunday, ​February 2, 8pm: Fifth T20 at Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui

Join us for live updates of the Blackcaps v India T20 series, starting January 24

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