Four New Zealand players, including Kane Williamson and Tim Southee, were given go-ahead by the country’s cricket board to join their respective Indian Premier League (IPL) teams without taking part in the home white-ball series against Sri Lanka.
The quartet of Williamson (Gujarat Titans), Southee (Kolkata Knight Riders), Devon Conway and Mitchell Santner (both Chennai Super Kings) will be released after the second and final Test against Sri Lanka beginning here on Friday so that they are able to join their respective IPL franchises early.
Three other players — Finn Allen (Royal Challengers Bangalore), Lockie Ferguson (KKR) and Glenn Phillips (Sunrisers Hyderabad) — will fly out to India after the first ODI slated in Auckland on March 25.
Following the conclusion of the ongoing two-match home Test series, New Zealand will face Sri Lanka in three ODIs and three T20Is.
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The IPL starts on March 31 with a match between defending champions Gujarat Titans and Chennai Super Kings in Ahmedabad.
In the absence of Williamson, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) has named Tom Latham as the skipper for the ODI series. The departure of the players to India will see Mark Chapman, Ben Lister and Henry Nicholls join up with the squad ahead of the second ODI at Hagley Oval in Christchurch on March 28.
Another feature of the squad is the return of Tom Blundell and Will Young to international white ball cricket.
NZC has named Canterbury’s Chad Bowes and Auckland Ace Ben Lister as the two uncapped players in the ODI squad to face Sri Lanka.
Lister is fresh from his T20I debut for New Zealand in India last month while Bowes has earned his first selection in the Black Caps squad.
“It’s always exciting as a coach to have new players in the environment and to have players putting their hands up to be selected again in a particular format,” Black Caps coach Gary Stead said in the NZC website. “We are set to play 16 white ball matches between now and the start of May so there will be a number of chances for players to test themselves in familiar and unfamiliar conditions,” he said about NZ’s plans ahead of the ODI World Cup in India in October-November.