Kiwis name squad for Australia tour

Brendon McCullum to lead experienced 15-man party for three-Test tour across the Tasman

New Zealand have announced in their 15-man squad for their three-Test series against Australia, beginning in Brisbane on November 5.

The Black Caps will play three practice matches before the first Test, beginning with a day-night fixture against a Prime Minister's XI in Canberra on October 23. 

That match will be played with a pink ball as the tourists gear up for the history-making third match in Adelaide, in which a pink ball will be used in the first-ever day-night Test.

Quick Single: Black Caps get pink ball warm-up

Captain Brendon McCullum was upbeat about his side's prospects, despite their only Test series triumph in Australia coming 30 summers ago, when Sir Richard Hadlee cut a swathe through the hosts' batting line-up with 33 wickets in three matches. 

"It's going to be a really tough series. I've said all the way along Australia, in their own conditions, are a formidable side regardless of how much experience or inexperience they possess," McCullum said yesterday after he was recognised for services to cricket with a New Zealand Order of Merit.

"We're respectful of how tough a challenge it will be but at the same time I think we've got a team that has performed over a period of time.

"I'd rather have our team than theirs."

Allrounders Corey Anderson and Jimmy Neesham have both been included, with Black Caps coach Mike Hesson keen to have flexibility when picking a fifth bowling option in the starting XI.

That selection means only four front-line pace bowlers - Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Doug Bracewell and Matt Henry - have been included. 

“A lot of our recent success has been based on the value of our No.6 batsman bowling some overs, and we’re comfortable continuing in that vein,” Hesson said.

“Rather than having an extra fast bowler not playing in Australia, we thought it more prudent for those in contention to remain in New Zealand and be playing domestic cricket.”

Off-spinner Mark Craig is the lone spinner included, while former Australia international and WA-based cricketer Luke Ronchi fills the role of back-up wicketkeeper to BJ Watling. 

“This is a tour in which we spend quite a lot of time on the west coast of Australia and, given what happened to BJ’s knee in England, it seems wise to have options close at hand,” Hesson added. 

Quick Single: New Zealand's full tour of Australia schedule

Opening batsman Hamish Rutherford has also been named to play in New Zealand A's one-day matches against Sri Lanka A in the lead-up to the Australia tour. 

“It makes sense to have our fringe Test players included in these matches,” Hesson added. “It’s good to keep them involved in high level cricket, especially on the cusp of the tour to Australia.

“We know at some stage someone will be required – that’s the attritional nature of a three-match Test series.”

New Zealand haven't toured Australia since late 2011, when a two-match series finished one-all.

New Zealand squad for tour of Australia: Brendon McCullum (c), Corey Anderson, Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Mark Craig, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, James Neesham, Luke Ronchi, Hamish Rutherford, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, BJ Watling, Kane Williamson.