Cricket: Tim Southee to skip Blackcaps' Twenty20 series in Pakistan, raising questions over international future

Test captain Tim Southee will miss the Blackcaps' Twenty20 series in Pakistan next month to prioritise his workload.

Newshub understands the veteran swing bowler will be rested for the five-match series in April, leaving questions over the strength and experience of the squad, which is already expected to be without several big names due to Indian Premier League commitments.

Southee featured in the Blackcaps most-recent T20 series against Australia, and is seen as a likely participant in the T20 World Cup in the USA and Caribbean in June.

Tim Southee in test whites.
Tim Southee in test whites. Photo credit: Getty Images

It’s understood Southee wants to prioritise a bumper tour of Asia, with New Zealand to play one test against Afghanistan, two tests in Sri Lanka and three tests in India, in September and October.

Across all formats, Southee has played 30 times for New Zealand in the last year alone, and continues to be a regular in coloured clothing and whites - a key figure both on and off the field.

The six tests in Asia create a rare situation where Southee, as test captain, may not even be in the first choice XI. His spot in the team has come under-fire over the summer, taking just six wickets in four home tests.

However, given the next generation of Kiwi fast bowlers who are coming through - spearheaded by Will O’Rourke and Ben Sears - it seems likely Southee will be there, not only as captain, but as a senior bowler.

Nevertheless, it raises the question of how much longer he wants to continue at both at the international level.

After the tour of Asia, New Zealand doesn’t play tests again until the home summer, when they host England for three tests. They don’t play red-ball cricket again until next July’s tour of Zimbabwe.

If he were to bow out, taking on his old mate Brendon McCullum’s England would make for a fitting a farewell.