The three-match T20I series is scheduled to begin on February 6.
After a convincing victory in the ODI series, the Indian team is all set to play New Zealand in a three-match T20I series from February 6 when the teams take stage at Wellington. The ODI series win has made India one of the most successful campaigners on the foreign soil as the victory came on the back of an illustrious Test series and ODI series win against Australia in their own backyard.
However, tragedy has struck the New Zealand team again as their flamboyant senior opener Martin Guptill has been ruled out of the upcoming series due to a back injury. Guptill got the injury prior to the fifth ODI against India and did not play the game and Colin Munro opened the innings with Henry Nicholls. Guptill, however hasn’t performed as per his class in recent times with only one international century in his last eight international outings. Guptill has scored 201 runs in 8 international games this year at an average of 25.12 with highest score of 138 against Sri Lanka in his first game of the year.
28 year-old allrounder James Neesham has named as Guptill’s replacement. Neesham has been in great form this season but was ruled out due to hamstring strain for the one-off T20I against Sri Lanka. However, he featured in couple of Super Smash fixtures for the Wellington Firebirds and was called back to the ODI squad for the final 2 ODIs against India. Neesham picked two wickets in two games and scored a quickfire 44 in the final ODI. He was also in the headlines recently as he hit Sri Lanka all rounder Thisara Perera for five sixes in an over in the 1st ODI in January.
New Zealand coach Gary Stead said, “Unfortunately Martin hasn’t recovered in time for this Twenty20 series which is very condensed with three games over five days. It’s a shame as he’s obviously a big part of our white-ball sides, but we’ve got to look at the big picture and ensure he gets the injury right. It’s great to have Jimmy coming into the side after some encouraging ODI performances.”
With no other regular opener in the squad, the Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson might opt to open the innings along with Colin Munro. Another option is 24 year-old wicketkeeper batsman Tim Seifert. This will be the fourth different opening pair for New Zealand in as much as four games.
UPDATED NEW ZEALAND SQUAD: Kane Williamson (c), Doug Bracewell, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson (1st and 2nd T20I only), James Neesham, Scott Kuggleijn, Daryl Mitchell, Colin Munro, Mitchell Santner, Tim Seifert (wk), Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Blair Tickner (3rd T20I only).