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Bracewell named NZ captain for T20I series against Pakistan

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Michael Bracewell will lead New Zealand for the first time as the selectors announced a 15-member squad for the upcoming five-match T20I series against Pakistan. Tim Robinson has received his maiden call-up and the squad also includes Will O’Rourke who is uncapped in the format.

New Zealand, meanwhile, will be without several of their frontline players who are either unavailable due to their stints in the IPL or for other reasons. Trent Boult, Devon Conway, Lockie Ferguson, Matt Henry, Daryl Mitchell, Glenn Phillips, Rachin Ravindra, Mitch Santner and Kane Williamson are all part of different teams in the IPL. Will Young (winter contract with Nottinghamshire), Tom Latham (awaiting birth of second child) and Tim Southee (conditioning) and Colin Munro were also unavailable for selection.

New Zealand T20I squad: Michael Bracewell (c), Finn Allen, Mark Chapman, Josh Clarkson, Jacob Duffy, Dean Foxcroft, Ben Lister, Cole McConchie, Adam Milne, Jimmy Neesham, Will O’Rourke, Tim Robinson, Ben Sears, Tim Seifert (WK), Ish Sodhi

Bracewell will be making his first international appearance since March 2023 as a ruptured Achilles and then a broken finger kept him out of action. The 33-year old all-rounder was back playing active cricket during the Plunket Shield where he picked up a first-class career-best of 8 for 41 in his first match upon return.

“Michael has faced a long period on the sideline and it’s exciting to see him back playing cricket again,” said New Zealand selector Sam Wells. “The fact he’s back playing at a high level after an Achilles rupture is testament to his hard work and application. He’s a well-respected leader and has captaincy experience for Wellington along with New Zealand A and New Zealand XI teams, which we believe holds him in good stead to lead the group in Pakistan.”

Robinson made it to the team on the back of a successful season with the bat, scoring 298 runs to finish as the second highest run-getter in the Super Smash despite featuring in only six of the 11 matches Wellington played due to an injury. His tally included a 64-ball 139 against Otago. O’Rourke, who has played two Tests and three ODIs, did well in the Super Smash as he picked up 12 wickets at an average of 19.41.

“Tim is still very early in his domestic career but his natural ability and explosive power was on full display this season. Combined with his outstanding fielding, we believe he has a skill-set that’s well suited to the format. We’ve been delighted with Will’s early efforts in international cricket, in both the formats he’s played so far. This tour will be an excellent chance for him to test his skills in foreign conditions,” said Wells about the uncapped players.

New Zealand will depart for Pakistan on April 12. The first T20I will be played on April 18 in Rawalpindi, which will also host the next two games on April 20 and 21. The last two matches of the series will be played in Lahore on April 25 and 27.

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