New Zealand Seek Redemption in ODI Series vs Bangladesh
The three ODIs against Bangladesh, which begin in Christchurch on Boxing Day, offer New Zealand a shot at redemption after a recent drubbing at the hands of Australia
The going hasn't been great for New Zealand in limited overs cricket in recent months. After a 2-3 series defeat in India, a Test series win over Pakistan at home came as a major confidence-booster for the Kiwis.
However, they were soon brought down to the ground when Australia hammered them 3-0 in an ODI series early this month.
The series loss once again brought to the fore New Zealand's shortcomings in the shorter format of the game.
Now set to host Bangladesh in three ODIs, three T20Is and two Tests, New Zealand will look to rest some key players after what has been a hectic few months for the team.
The three ODIs against Bangladesh, which begin in Christchurch on Boxing Day, offer a shot at redemption but coach Mike Hesson is wary about the possibility of burnout with home series against Australia and South Africa to follow.
"It's always a balancing act with guys that play all three forms, especially the bowlers," Hesson said Saturday, confirming Boult will sit out the last ODI, Southee will miss the three T20s that follow, and other players may also be rested.
Following the Australia drubbing, New Zealand resisted the urge for wholesale changes but did recall veterans Neil Broom and Luke Ronchi.
Only six players remain from the squad of 15 who took New Zealand to the World Cup final last year and although the side is rebuilding, selector Gavin Larsen said "it's very important that we do see improvements during the home summer".
With Ross Taylor sidelined following eye surgery, and Test gloveman BJ Watling not performing as expected in Australia, the selectors are looking to the experienced 33-year-old Broom and Ronchi, 35, to shore up the side.
It is nearly seven years since Broom last played an ODI for New Zealand, but at domestic level "he has an impressive strike-rate and obviously fills the number four role with Ross out injured", Larsen said.
Ronchi, who did play in the 2015 World Cup, is recalled after a string of low scores saw him dropped from the recent Australia series.
Bangladesh, at seven in the ODI rankings and three places below New Zealand, lost their rain-affected warm up game to a New Zealand XI by three wickets, but did find inspiration in the performance of 21-year-old pace bowler Mustafizur Rahman.
Mustafizur took two wickets in his first competitive match in five months following shoulder surgery while all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan chimed in with 3-41.
Test captain Mushfiqur Rahim also showed himself in form with the bat, scoring 45 off 41 deliveries while Soumya Sarkar added 40 to Bangladesh's 245-8 off 43 overs.
Following the first ODI in Christchurch on Monday, the second and third matches will be played in Nelson on December 29 and 31 with three T20s and two Tests to follow.
(With inputs from AFP)