WELLINGTON: Michael Bracewell will captain New Zealand for the first time on their Twenty20 tour of Pakistan this month, with a host of top names missing because they are playing in the Indian Premier League.

Pakistan host New Zealand for five Twenty20 internationals, starting in Rawalpindi on April 18, as both teams warm up for June’s T20 World Cup in the United States and the West Indies.

The 33-year-old all-rounder Bracewell was a surprise selection to lead the squad having missed last year’s 50-overs World Cup with an Achilles rupture and played his last T20 international more than a year ago.

He will fill in for the absence of regular skipper Kane Williamson, who is playing for Gujarat Titans in the IPL.

Bracewell said that being informed he would captain New Zealand had capped a “golden three days” last month when he also took eight wickets for his club Wellington and had a hole-in-one playing golf.

“It’s three days that I’ll never forget,” Bracewell said. “I’m very excited, it’s a huge honour just to be picked again for New Zealand and then on top of that selected as captain. I wasn’t expecting that.”

IPL contracted players Trent Boult, Devon Conway, Lockie Ferguson, Matt Henry, Daryl Mitchell, Glenn Phillips, Rachin Ravindra, Mitch Santner and Williamson are all missing.

New Zealand Test captain Tim Southee is being rested after a busy summer of cricket across all formats while Will Young, Tom Latham and Colin Munro are also unavailable.

Big-hitting batsman Tim Robinson and fast bowler Will O’Rourke received their first Twenty20 squad call-ups.

O’Rourke impressed on debut with the test side against South Africa in February, while Robinson earned his spot with a torrent of runs for Wellington in the domestic Super Smash competition.

“We have picked a squad with a lot of power and exciting bowling options,” said New Zealand selector Sam Wells.

New Zealand won 4-1 in a home five-match Twenty20 series against Pakistan in January.

Squad: Michael Bracewell (captain), 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, Ish Sodhi.

Published in Dawn, April 4th, 2024

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