Cricket: Breakout batting sensation Finn Allen named to Blackcaps Twenty20 squad to play Bangladesh

Rising star Finn Allen is in line to make his international debut, after being named to the 13-strong Twenty20 squad to take on Bangladesh in the three-game series, starting in Hamilton on Sunday.

The 21-year-old opener took this season's Super Smash by storm, amassing a league-leading 512 runs at an average of 57 and an incredible strike-rate of 167 - featuring a table-topping 56 fours and 25 sixes.

The former NZ U-19 representative is one of two new faces in the side, with batsman Will Young also called up for the first time. 

Allen is still coming terms with his dramatic rise through the ranks, culminating in his national selection.

He was put on stand-by as injury cover for Martin Guptill for the series against Australia, but ultimately wasn't required.

"This time around, knowing that there's more chance of playing, it's pretty cool," Allen says.

"There was more of a thought that it's time to get in the right headspace and to be ready to perform if I get the chance to play."

Pacemen Lockie Ferguson and Adam Milne will make a welcome return to the squad, after lengthy lay-offs.

Ferguson hasn't played for the Blackcaps since claiming five for 21 in the season-opening T20 against the West Indies in November, when he succumbed to a partial-stress fracture in his back. 

Meanwhile, Milne - who hasn't played for New Zealand since 2018 - will have a chance to add to his 61 appearances for the Blackcaps, working his way back into the squad, after his strong form with Sydney Thunder in the Australian Big Bash League.

The 28-year-old insists that he never gave up hope of a return to the Blackcaps.

"I think I've always strived to be playing international cricket," Milne says.

"I said that when I left for the Big Bash, that wasn't me kicking international cricket goodbye, it was a stepping stone.

"For me, the ultimate is playing for New Zealand, in any format. That's always been something I've been working towards."

Ferguson, Milne and Allen will depart for the Indian Premier League immediately after the Bangladesh T20 series.

Fellow IPL players Kane Williamson, Trent Boult, Mitchell Santner, Kyle Jamieson, Jimmy Neesham and Tim Seifert have not been selected, allowing them to rest and spend time with family before making their way to India.

"The six guys who will miss this series are incumbents in our T20 side and the decision to give them some time at home with family before they embark on a long stint in India, was principally made with their welfare in mind," says selector Gavin Larsen.

"We're also very aware of the need to give others opportunities in a World Cup year and it’s great to be able to introduce Finn and Will to the set-up, as well as welcome back Lockie [Ferguson] and Adam [Milne]."

Tim Southee will captain the side in Williamson's absence, while Devon Conway has been selected as the frontline wicketkeeper.

Allrounder Daryl Mitchell and spinner Todd Astle also return to the squad.

"Tim [Southee] is a great leader in any Blackcaps side,"adds Larsen. 

"We've seen how well he's slipped into the T20 captain’s position in the past and we look forward to him continuing to grow in the role.

"Devon [Conway's] wicketkeeping skills are a real asset to have in a squad and we're keen to ensure he has some international experience in this role to provide us with another option going forward."

Blackcaps T20 squad: Tim Southee (capt.), Finn Allen, Todd Astle, Hamish Bennett, Mark Chapman, Devon Conway (wk), Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Adam Milne , Daryl Mitchell, Glenn Phillips, Ish Sodhi, Will Young

Join us for live updates of all three T20 fixtures between the Blackcaps and Bangladesh, starting 2pm, Sunday