Blackcaps v Australia: Allrounder Josh Clarkson gets Twenty20 call-up for trans-Tasman series

Allrounder Josh Clarkson admits his Blackcaps inclusion for upcoming Twenty20 series against Australia realises a childhood dream.

The Christchurch product is part of a 14-strong squad for the three-game tilt against the Aussies, which also features the return of veteran seamer Trent Boult and star allrounder Rachin Ravindra.

Mitchell Santner will captain the side in the absence of Kane Williamson, who is on paternity leave.

Clarkson, 27, has been a standout performer in domestic whiteball cricket and was rewarded with an international one-day debut against Bangladesh in December.

His latest assignment is another challenge altogether.

Josh Clarkson hits out against Bangladesh.
Josh Clarkson hits out against Bangladesh. Photo credit: Photosport

With Daryl Mitchell sidelined by a niggly foot injury, there's a powerhitting batting spot up for grabs.

"It's pretty much a dream come true, really," Clarkson told Newshub. "You grow up watching New Zealand and Aussie as a youngster, and try to replicate that in the backyard as a young kid.

"The old man used to love his cricket, so we'd always have a test match on, or just watching the aussies and NZ going at it in whiteball stuff. It's a pretty surreal feeling at the moment."

Clarkson has played 83 T20 matches for Central Districts, averaging 28.01 with the bat and a strike rate of 148.4, recording eight fifties along the way. While he received few opportunities to show his ability in the 50-over format, his potential has obviously caught the eye of national selectors.

"I enjoy all formats really, but T20 cricket is one I like to dominate," he said. "Hitting the ball hard is a speciality of mine, so I'm looking forward to the challenge." 

Beyond the trans-Tasman series lies a 20-over World Cup and Clarkson is keenly aware a solid performance against Australia may lead to further honours. 

"That's obviously there, but I'm not really too worried about that at the moment," he said. "I'm trying to get past this hurdle first, do my job for the team and try to win a few games along the way."

Far from frustration with his outings against Bangladesh, Clarkson relished the experience, which has only whetted his appetite for more against the reigning world champions. 

Ironically, the highlight of that maiden series probably came with the ball, as he took 2/24 from four overs on debut at Dunedin.

"As a professional cricketer, you always question yourself, so it was nice to compete at that level and it gave great confidence going forward," he said. 

"You have your ups and downs in cricket, so I've got nothing really to worry about. I'll just go in there guns blazing and not back down." 

Boult has been selected for games two and three at Auckland's Eden Park on February 23 and February 25, as red-ball captain Tim Southee manages his workload between the South Africa and Australia test series.

Michael Bracewell (finger injury) and Jimmy Neesham (Bangladesh Premier League) were unavailable for selection. 

New Zealand: Mitchell Santner (c), Finn Allen, Trent Boult (games 2 & 3), Mark Chapman, Josh Clarkson, Devon Conway (wk), Lockie Ferguson, Matt Henry, Adam Milne, Glenn Phillips, Rachin Ravindra, Tim Seifert (wk), Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee (game 1)

Join Newshub at 7pm on Wednesday, February 21 for the Blackcaps v Australia T20 opener