Brendon McCullum has been named in the the New Zealand squad for the forthcoming One-Day International (ODI) series against Australia. McCullum, the team's regular captain, had been sidelined with a back injury he sustained during the second ODI against Sri Lanka on December 28. His return to the squad, however, is subject to a fitness test with opening batsman Tom Latham named as cover.
McCullum, who will retire from international cricket after the series against Australia, is hoping to end his ODI career by helping his team retain theprestigiousChappell-Hadlee Trophy. New Zealand are holders of the title having won it by beating their Trans-Tasman rivals in a group stage match at the EdenPark in Auckland during the 2015 World Cup.
Meanwhile, New Zealand's 13-man squad has notable absentees in Tim Southee and Ross Taylor, who have are unavailable due to injuries. Fast bowler Mitchell McClenaghan, who suffered an eye socket fracture in the series against Pakistan, also misses out.
Mike Hesson, the head coach of the side, said the series was a very significant one in New Zealand's cricket calendar. "This is a pinnacle event for us and we'll look to get our best side out on the park each time we play," he said. "We've been lucky enough to use a big squad over the summer and although we're missing a few key players, we have guys who can step in and we know are up to the task.
"The Chappell Hadlee Trophy is something we want to hold on to. The rivalry between these two sides is huge and it's going to be three intense games in front of some big crowds."
The first game of the series will be played on Wednesday (February 3) in Auckland with the following games scheduled for February 6 and 8 in Wellington and Hamilton respectively.
Squad: Brendon McCullum (c), Corey Anderson, Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Grant Elliott, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Adam Milne, Colin Munro, Henry Nicholls, Luke Ronchi, Mitchell Santner, Kane Williamson, Tom Latham (cover).