In a largely stable group of players, there was a vacancy from the retirement of Ross Taylor, while Bracewell, who was recently included in the Test squad for the tour of England after making his international debut against the Netherlands in March, Will effectively replace Neesham.
Neesham, who has not featured in Test cricket since 2017, played nine T20Is in the last 12 months, featuring in the T20 World Cup, in which he scored 92 runs in seven innings at a strike-rate of 135.29 and an economy of 8.20. Took three wickets. ,
He last played an ODI in March 2021, where he took a five-wicket haul against Bangladesh, New Zealand’s only game since then – the three-match series against the Netherlands – missing due to his IPL deal.
However, head coach Gary Stead said the door was not closed on Neesham. After the IPL, where he has played only one match for Rajasthan Royals so far, he will travel to England for the T20 Blast with Northamptonshire and may yet be considered for New Zealand’s upcoming limited-overs series.
“That doesn’t mean Jimmy Neesham won’t play for New Zealand again,” Stead said. “It’s a process of contract, not a process of selection.”
Bracewell’s contract marked an impressive growth for him over the past few months, during which he was called up in all three formats and named the Super Smash player of the season.
“Finalizing the list is getting harder by the year,” Stead said. “The busy international calendar means we are calling on a broad base of talent these days and the likes of Michael Bracewell are testament to the depth of that talent.
“Michael has now been performing for consecutive seasons on the domestic circuit and we certainly see him as an international prospect across all three formats.
“It’s great to see Ajaz back on the list after missing very few last season. His value as our premier red-ball spinner is clear and we look forward to seeing his role in the Test squad.”
New Zealand’s Test team will leave for England over the weekend ahead of a three-Test series next month. This is followed by limited-overs series against Ireland, Scotland, Netherlands and West Indies which takes them till August.
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