New Zealand v England Tests
Kiwi T20 star opts out of Test contention
One-Test Black Caps batsman to put red-ball cricket on the back burner, sets focus on next year's ODI World Cup
AAP & cricket.com.au
9 March 2018, 11:25 AM AEST
Big-hitting Kiwi Colin Munro will no longer seek selection for Test or four-day New Zealand domestic cricket.
The 30-year-old, one of the finest Twenty20 batsmen in the world, has played just the single Test for New Zealand, against South Africa in early 2013.
But he has played 39 ODIs and 45 T20 Internationals, and is the only batsman to have scored three T20I centuries.
Munro said on Friday that he'd focus on white-ball cricket from now on, both with the Black Caps and the Auckland Aces.
"I'm still 100 per cent committed to playing for the Black Caps and Auckland Aces in the shorter formats and have some big goals I'd like to achieve," Munro said.
"Obviously with the (ODI) World Cup next year, I'd love to give myself the best chance of making that squad and that's where my main focus is."
As such, the Durban-born Munro will sit out the New Zealand XI's upcoming pair of two-day warm-up matches against England in Hamilton.
Munro's decision follows the lead set by a number of other high-profile international cricketers to turn their backs on the longest format recently.
Australia T20 star Chris Lynn last year declined a contract from Queensland for the 2017-18 season to focus on recovering from shoulder surgery and play the shortest format. While his hopes of earning a Baggy Green are on hold, he has insisted he has not given up entirely on Test cricket.
Former England Test players Alex Hales and Adil Rashid signed white-ball only contracts with their respective county sides Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire in recent months.
England and Perth Scorchers quick David Willey believes it could be a sign of things to come.
"It's to be expected. It is too much to play everything and that's cricket now," Willey said after Rashid's decision.
"If you look around now with all the white-ball cricket around the world people can make a career out of that.
"People make decisions in all different careers as to what they enjoy and what suits them and it wouldn't surprise me if more guys do it over the next few years with the amount of white-ball cricket that's available throughout the year."
Taking place back to back, Martin Guptill will captain a New Zealand XI for their red-ball game against England on March 14 and 15 before Tom Latham takes the reins for a pink-ball clash on March 16 and 17.
The Black Caps' first of two Tests against England will follow the week after.
"There's a number of our front-line guys in there and this is a great opportunity for them to get ready for what is a huge Test series," selector Gavin Larsen said.
"We've also selected a very strong group of fringe players around our current Test group and this is a fantastic opportunity for them to challenge themselves against a very good international side."
Stalwart Ross Taylor has been named in the red-ball side despite aggravating a thigh issue in Wednesday's fourth-ODI win over England.
There is some overlap between the two sides, with Tom Blundell, Scott Kuggeleijn, Seth Rance, Ish Sodhi and George Worker to play on all four days.
Black Caps red-ball squad (March 14-15): Martin Guptill (c), Logan van Beek, Tom Blundell, Doug Bracewell, Mark Chapman, Scott Kuggeleijn, Glenn Phillips, Seth Rance, Tim Seifert, Ish Sodhi, Ross Taylor, George Worker.
Black Caps pink-ball squad (March 16-17): Tom Latham (c), Tom Blundell, Colin de Grandhomme, Kyle Jamieson, Scott Kuggeleijn, Henry Nicholls, Seth Rance, Jeet Raval, Mitchell Santner, Nathan Smith, Ish Sodhi, George Worker.