REUTERS - Former New Zealand cricket captain Ross Taylor will take the first tentative steps to rejoin the national setup after being named in a New Zealand XI on Wednesday to face England in two Twenty20 matches.
Taylor was effectively dumped as skipper by coach Mike Hesson last month after New Zealand’s tour of Sri Lanka, creating a public outcry and damaging New Zealand Cricket’s credibility.
Taylor did not make himself available for the team’s current tour of South Africa, with Brendon McCullum named to lead the side in all three forms of the game.
The 28-year-old, however, had said he would consider returning to the team for the England series, but has barely played in domestic cricket since his return from Sri Lanka.
“Obviously it’s great to have Ross back in the mix and really were excited about seeing him play again,” national selection manager Kim Littlejohn said of Taylor’s inclusion for the two matches on February 4 and 6 in Whangarei.
”He’s a proven world-class batsman and this will provide him with a great chance to get some cricket under his belt following his break.
Former Australia wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi was also named in the New Zealand side after completing the required stand-down period to play for his country of birth.
“We’re pleased to have Luke Ronchi available as well and after a great (domestic Twenty20 competition) we look forward to watching him continue to make an impact,” added
Ronchi was born in New Zealand but moved to Western Australia as a child. He played four one-day and three Twenty20 internationals for Australia in 2008 and 2009 but found his path to further matches blocked by Brad Haddin.
Ronchi moved to New Zealand in 2012 to play for Wellington and became eligible for the country earlier this month after completing a four-year stand-down period since his last international match for Australia.
England begin a three-match Twenty20 international series against New Zealand in Auckland on February 9 before playing three one-day internationals and three test matches.
New Zealand XI: Andrew Ellis (captain), Anton Devcich, Colin Munro, Hamish Rutherford, Ian Butler, Jimmy Neesham, Luke Ronchi, Matthew Henry, Michael Bates, Neil Broom, Neil Wagner, Nick Beard, Ross Taylor, Tom Latham.
Writing by Greg Stutchbury in Melbourne; Editing by Peter Rutherford