Pak vs NZ: Black Caps make Kane Williamson stand-in skipper; McCullum rested
Wellington: New Zealand cricket captain Brendon McCullum and pacers Trent Boult and Tim Southee were rested for the two-match T20 International (T20I) series starting December 4th and the five-match One-Day International (ODI) series starting December 8th in the UAE, with youngster Kane Williamson named as stand-in skipper of the 15-member squad.
The move confirmed Williamson's status as McCullum's long-term successor, with chief selector Bruce Edgar saying it would give the 24-year-old valuable experience.
Williamson has captained the national side in three previous ODIs and two T20s.
Edgar said McCullum, along with pacemen Tim Southee and Trent Boult, would return to New Zealand to prepare for a series against Sri Lanka beginning on December 26. The first Test against Sri Lanka will begin less than a week after the return of the ODI team to New Zealand.
Kane Williamson. Pic/ AFP
"Managing players' workloads will be an important part of our summer's plans and this is simply an example of that," he said, stressing that the decision to rest the trio was taken before last week's death of Australian batsman Phillip Hughes, which rocked the entire team.
"On the flip side, it gives us a chance to assess and evaluate other players in contention for the World Cup squad, and allows us to work on some of our contingency plans -- such as developing Kane's captaincy experience."
McCullum scored a double century as he led New Zealand to a resounding innings and 80 run victory over Pakistan to level a three-match Test series 1-1 on Sunday but said after the match that Hughes' death had overshadowed the win.
Hughes, 25, died on Thursday, two days after being struck by a bouncer while playing a domestic game at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Fast bowler Adam Milne has been recalled to the squad along with left-handed batting all-rounder Anton Devcich.
T20 and ODI squad: Kane Williamson (capt), Corey Anderson, Dean Brownlie, Anton Devcich, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Mitchell McClenaghan, Nathan McCullum, Kyle Mills, Adam Milne, James Neesham, Luke Ronchi, Ross Taylor, Daniel Vettori.