Allrounder James Neesham and batsman Neil Broom will not be a part of the New Zealand side for the upcoming limited-overs tour of India in October. The pair were left out of the initial squad of nine announced by coach Mike Hesson on Sunday. Six players will be picked from the New Zealand A squad currently touring India.
Both players were part of the Champions Trophy side earlier this year but did not fare too well, even as New Zealand failed to advance to the knockout stage, not one of their three matches yielding a win. Neesham scored 47 runs in three innings, with a highest of 23, and went wicketless in his seven overs in the tournament. Broom, meanwhile, scored 61 runs, averaging 20.33.
Hesson was specific in his critique of the areas that Broom and Neesham needed to improve. In Broom's case, Hesson pointed out that he would have to work on the skills required of a batsman at No. 5, given the third and fourth spots in the line-up are already settled.
In 15 innings following his comeback to the ODI side, Broom batted at No. 3 and 4 five times, racking up 329 runs with one century and two fifties. His stint at No. 5, however, has been more subdued: 273 runs in ten innings with two fifties.
"It will be disappointing for James and Neil, but we've talked through the areas that we'd like to see them work on and if we see development, they'll certainly both come into the reckoning come the home summer," Hesson said.
"Neil was really effective for us batting at three or four last season, but we have quality, established batsmen in those positions and we'd like to see Neil develop his game further to show he has the skills to bat at five."
The mandate for Neesham, meanwhile, is dominant performances in domestic cricket and greater consistency across skills. The allrounder had made his international comeback during New Zealand's tour of India last year, having been out of the game for a significant period before that due to a back injury. While his batting returns since then have been steady lower down the order - 573 runs in 22 matches at an average of 30.15 - he has not been consistent with the ball, taking 14 wickets in 19 innings with an economy rate of 6.65.
The allrounder recently turned out for Kent in the Natwest t20 blast, finishing as the side's second-highest wicket-taker with 14 dismissals, while accumulating 203 runs.
"Jimmy needs go back and really dominate domestic cricket with both bat and ball. We know Jimmy is a talented player, but we've spoken with him around improving the consistency in all areas of his game."
Hesson said that with New Zealand A playing in India, it made sense to pick a squad in parts, and believed the open places would spur competition among the A squad. The trial for the wicketkeeper's slot is already underway - New Zealand A have taken three wicketkeepers, Tom Blundell, Glenn Phillips and Tim Seifert, on the India tour and Tom Latham has returned early from county duties with Durham to undertake specialist wicket-keeping training.
"The nine we've picked have made up the core of our ODI team for a while and all of them have experience playing in India," said Hesson.
"With a number of our top guys already playing in India, it's helpful to be able to select the squad in two parts. With six spots left, there's an obvious incentive for the players in New Zealand A to perform and put their best foot forward."
The series against India gets underway next month, with the first ODI in Mumbai on October 22, while the T20I series will be played between November 1 and 7. The team is set to depart for India on October 12.