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New Zealand vs Sri Lanka: Mitchell Santner back in T20I squad following eight-month lay-off

With Trent Boult and Colin de Grandhomme also rested, Northern Districts' quick-bowling all-rounder Scott Kuggeleijn is poised to make his T20 international debut.

Mitchell Santner
Mitchell Santner. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)

Mitchell Santner who was out of action for New Zealand for almost a year now has been included in the squad for the one-off T20I against Sri Lanka in Auckland next week. The spin bowling all-rounder had to undergo knee surgery last March following the serious knee injury sustained by him.

Jimmy Neesham, who last played a T20I in January 2017 against Bangladesh and smashed five sixes in an over on his ODI return yesterday, is also part of the squad which will be led by Tim Southee with Kane Williamson rested ahead of the series against India. Santner made a return to the 13-member T20 squad following impressive performances in the Super Smash competition.

After spending most of the year 2018 recovering from the knee surgery, the 26-year-old left-arm orthodox bowler returned for Northern Districts and even though he picked up just three wickets in three games, he was highly impressive and economical. He ended with 1 for 16 from his four overs against Otago to show he’s fit to return to international cricket.

Tim did a really good job leading the side against Pakistan and Windies

Black Caps selector Gavin Larsen was quoted as saying to cricbuzz, “Tim did a really good job leading the side against Pakistan and the West Indies last season and he’s got a nice mix of proven performers and some fresh faces to work with. We’re delighted to welcome Mitchell back into the BLACKCAPS environment and he’s shown in his performances for the Knights in the Super Smash that he’s ready for international cricket again,” he further added.

With Trent Boult and Colin de Grandhomme also rested, Northern Districts’ quick-bowling all-rounder Scott Kuggeleijn is poised to make his T20 international debut. Uncapped Scott Kuggeleijn, who has featured in two ODIs so far, had an impressive outing in the Super Smash which impressed the selectors to consider him for the shortest format. Guptill is expected to slot in at the top of the order with Mark Chapman dropped from the side.

New Zealand T20I Squad for SL series: Tim Southee (c), Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Scott Kuggeleijn, Colin Munro, Jimmy Neesham, Henry Nicholls, Glenn Phillips, Seth Rance, Mitchell Santner, Tim Seifert, Ish Sodhi, Ross Taylor.

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