• England in New Zealand 2012-13

Taylor to face England in warm-ups

ESPNcricinfo staff
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Ross Taylor is getting close to a New Zealand return © Getty Images
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Ross Taylor has been named in a New Zealand XI squad to face England in two Twenty20 warm-up matches early next month at the start of their tour. Luke Ronchi, the former Australia and Western Australia wicketkeeper who is now qualified for New Zealand, is also included.

Taylor, who opted out of the tour of South Africa following his controversial sacking from the captaincy, will resume competitive action for Central Districts in the Plunket Shield this week and his inclusion in the representative squad confirms a return to full international colours is around the corner.

"Obviously it's great to have Ross back in the mix and really we're excited about seeing him play again," Kim Littlejohn, the national selection manager, said. "He's a proven world-class batsman and this will provide him with a great chance to get some cricket under his belt following his break.

"We're confident all of the players in the squad will relish the chance to play against England, with the matches a great opportunity for them to push for higher honours."

Ronchi, 31, completed his four-year qualification period this month since last playing for Australia and will stake a strong claim for the wicketkeeper's position in all formats against England although BJ Watling impressed in the role against South Africa.

"We're pleased to have Luke Ronchi available as well and after a great HRV Cup we look forward to watching him continue to make an impact," Littlejohn said. "It's a very strong New Zealand XI and we expect them to be competitive opponents.

"Nearly all of the team have previous experience on the international stage, while the likes of Nick Beard, Matt Henry, Anton Devcich and Hamish Rutherford get their first chance after showing considerable promise on the domestic scene."

The squad, for two matches which will be played on February 4 and 6 in Whangarei, includes three players - Colin Munro, Jimmy Neesham, and Neil Wagner - who are currently on tour in South Africa where New Zealand secured the one-day series on Tuesday with a 27-run victory in Kimberley.

Hamish Rutherford, a 23-year-old left-handed batsman, is the son of former New Zealand captain Ken.

NZ XI squad Andrew Ellis (capt), Anton Devcich, Colin Munro, Hamish Rutherford, Ian Butler, Jimmy Neesham, Luke Ronchi, Matthew Henry, Michael Bates, Neil Broom, Neil Wagner, Nick Beard, Ross Taylor, Tom Latham

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