| McMillan: Out of form
Auckland: Batsman Craig McMillan has been dropped for New Zealand’s tour of Sri Lanka, the chairman of selectors Sir Richard Hadlee announced on Tuesday.
McMillan had a wretched domestic summer but retained his place in the recent World Cup, where he continued to fail and his omission has opened the way for Matthew Horne to return to the squad.
Off-spinner Paul Wiseman has also been recalled to back-up left-armer Daniel Vettori on the spin-friendly pitches for the two-Test tour.
Hadlee said that Wiseman had previously toured Sri Lanka with success and went on to explain McMillan’s exclusion.
“Craig is a talented batsman who is currently out of form. We are confident he will work through this blip in his career and come back to make significant contributions.”
Meanwhile, Nathan Astle is unavailable to tour due to a knee injury and Chris Cairns will only play in the triangular one-day series also involving Pakistan.
Horne last appeared for New Zealand against Bangladesh in late 2001 and missed that season’s tour of England and subsequent trips to Pakistan and West Indies last year.
He also missed the home series against India before the World Cup. A newcomer to the 14-man Test squad is Wellington batsman Richard Jones, a consistent performer domestically who regularly appears near the top of the country’s averages.
New Zealand lies third in the ICC World Test rankings and Hadlee said the tour was a chance to consolidate that position.
“Sri Lanka will be a formidable Test opponent in their own conditions, so the challenge is a tough one,” he said.
In the one-day squad, wicket-keeper batsman Chris Nevin returns to open the batting, a position in which New Zealand suffered during the World Cup when the selectors were criticised for not including the hard-hitting Wellingtonian.
The first Test begins in Colombo on April 25 while the first one-dayer is against Pakistan on May 11. An additional player will be added after the Test series.
Stephen Fleming (captain), Shane Bond, Ian Butler, Robbie Hart, Matthew Horne, Richard Jones, Jacob Oram, Mark Richardson, Mathew Sinclair, Scott Styris, Daryl Tuffey, Daniel Vettori, Lou Vincent, Paul Wiseman.
Fleming (captain), Andre Adams, Bond, Chris Cairns, Chris Harris, Horne, Brendon McCullum, Kyle Mills, Chris Nevin, Oram, Styris, Tuffey, Vettori.