DateLine: 3rd December 2006
Mathew Sinclair's two-year exile from New Zealand Test cricket has ended with the two-time double centurion recalled Saturday to the New Zealand squad to play Sri Lanka. Sinclair, and the inclusion of specialist opener Craig Cumming, were the major features of another top order reshuffle for the two-Test series, which starts in Christchurch on Thursday. An untimely knee injury to swing bowler Kyle Mills sees inexperienced duo Michael Mason and Iain O'Brien return to bolster the pace attack spearheaded by Shane Bond, though one is likely to be omitted from the 13-man squad. Cumming, who scored 74 on debut in Christchurch against the Australians in March 2005, will partner Jamie How as coach John Bracewell opts for specialist openers, ending a trend of employing makeshift starters. "We felt trying to ask guys to move up the order had been difficult for their skill set and we've gone back to looking at selecting options who choose to open rather than being asked to," Bracewell said. "Jamie How is the incumbent and Sinclair and Cumming have been the form batsmen. In Sinclair's case, it is a continuation of the runs he scored (in domestic cricket) last season and Cumming has had Test experience." Sinclair, who made 214 on debut against the West Indies in 1999, has rarely been an automatic selection and last played against Australia in Adelaide in November 2004. Mills, the Black Caps stand out bowler during last month's Champions Trophy in India, has broken down with a patella tendon injury, while O'Brien and Mason, who have just three tests between them, are both on the comeback trail from back injuries. New Zealand squad: (from) Stephen Fleming (captain), Craig Cumming, Jamie How, Mathew Sinclair, Nathan Astle, Jacob Oram, Brendon McCullum, Daniel Vettori, James Franklin, Shane Bond, Chris Martin, Michael Mason and Ian O'Brien.