New Zealand opt for spin in World Twenty20 squad


New Zealand are backing the power of spin in their quest for the ICC World Twenty20 in India, having named three front-line spinners in their 15-man squad.

Nathan McCullum, Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi will be looking to take advantage of the turn on the Indian pitches as the Black Caps hunt for a first ever T20 title.

Kane Williamson was named captain and he will be hoping to build on his strong performances in recent T20 series against Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

Williamson scored three half-centuries in five T20 matches against Sri Lanka and Pakistan throughout January, including a 72 not out during a 10-wicket win against the latter at Hamilton.

Martin Guptill smashed 87 not out in the same game and has also notched three half-centuries in the same period.

Henry Nicholls is in line for his T20 international debut after being selected in the squad following an impressive one-day international series against Pakistan, the highlight of which was a crucial 82 in the series opener in Wellington.

Coach Mike Hesson said the conditions played a part in selection, adding it was important to strike a balance.

"Henry has shown his talent and versatility with the bat this summer and has also been used as a wicketkeeper for New Zealand A," he said.

"With the Indian conditions in mind, the plan has always been to take three front-line spinners, and all three bring something different.

"It's great to have Nathan available again and his experience in the foreign conditions will be invaluable. Both he and Mitch Santner have the ability to bowl in the first six overs, which gives Kane a number of options to work with."

Injured trio Tim Southee, Ross Taylor and Mitchell McClenaghan were all selected and are expected to be fit for the tournament.

New Zealand will face Australia, India, Pakistan and a qualifier in Group 2.