Tom Latham and Martin Guptill to lead New Zealand XIs against England in the practice games

Two 2-day matches will be played on consecutive days with the pink and red ball.

New Zealand
Martin Guptill of New Zealand. (Photo by JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP/Getty Images)

The England cricket team is in New Zealand and after a 3-2 series win in the ODIs are scheduled to play two Tests against the hosts; the first of which is a day-night game. Ahead of the series in the whites, the visitors will play two practice games to get used to the conditions and the shift in the format.

New Zealand Cricket has announced two teams for both the games and Tom Latham and Martin Guptill will be leading them in the respective matches. Latham will hold command in the first two-day pink ball practice game that starts on March 14 at Seddon Park. For the next, that will be played on March 16 and 17 with the conventional red ball Guptill will be the man in charge.

While the selectors decided to rest Ross Taylor for the first game considering his recovery from a thigh injury, Colin Munro has decided to focus only on white-ball cricket and thus wasn’t considered and will not play any domestic first-class match either.

World Cup 2019 in sight

Talking about the shift Munro said: “It would be fair to say that my focus hasn’t been on four-day cricket this season, and my passion for that format of the game isn’t what it once was.

He wants to channelize all his energies in the format that best suits his style of play. With the World Cup around the corner this also gives him the opportunity to set a preparation in motion well ahead of time.

“I’m still 100 per cent committed to playing for the Black Caps and Auckland Aces in the shorter formats and have some big goals I’d like to achieve in the next couple of years. Obviously, with the World Cup next year, I’d love to give myself the best chance of making that squad – and that’s where my main focus is,” Munro added.

New Zealand squad for the 1st practice game:

T Latham (C, wk), T Blundell, C de Grandhomme, K Jamieson, S Kuggeleijn, H Nicholls, S Rance, J Raval, M Santner, N Smith, I Sodhi, G Worker.

New Zealand squad for the 2nd practice game:  

M Guptill (C), L van Beek, T Blundell, D Bracewell, M Chapman, S Kuggeleijn, G Phillips, S Rance, T Seifert (wk), I Sodhi, R Taylor, G Worker

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