31 Dec 2015

Life without McCullum kicks in for Black Caps

5:11 am on 31 December 2015

The Black Caps will get their first official taste of life without Brendon McCullum during next month's two Twenty20 games against Sri Lanka.

With McCullum's looming retirement after the Test series against Australia in February and his decision not to stay on for the Twenty20 World Cup in India in March, he hasn't been named in the 13-strong squad for the games in Mt Maunganui and Auckland.

Brendon McCullum in fine form for the Black Caps against Sri Lanka, Hagley Oval, Christchurch, 26th December 2015. Copyright Photo: John Davidson / www.photosport.nz

Life without Brendon McCullum is set to kick in for the Black Caps. Photo: Photosport

McCullum is also likely to miss the third one dayer against Sri Lanka in Nelson on Thursday as he's still recovering from a back injury he aggravated in the second ODI win in Christhchurch on Monday.

The all-rounder Corey Anderson returns to the T20 side but will but play as a batsman only.

Anderson last played for the Black Caps in May on their tour of England but has struggled to recover from an ongoing back problem.

He has been playing for Northern Districts as a batsman only in the domestic competition.

The Black Caps will play two T20 games against Sri Lanka, the first at Mt Maunganui on January 7th, before heading to Auckland for Sri Lanka's final match of the tour.

Corey Anderson

There'll be no bowling for Corey Anderson on his return to the Black Caps. Photo: Photosport

Also back in is Wellington all-rounder Grant Elliot, who suffered a broken wrist while training in November.

"It's been a long process for Corey," Black Caps coach Mike Hesson said. "We've got a plan in place for when we hope to have Corey back bowling. He's getting closer, but we'll be taking a precautionary approach.

"We've seen how dynamic a batsmen he is and can threaten any bowling attack in the world. It'll be great to have him back in the mix.

"We're also looking forward to having Grant back with us after recovering from the from his arm injury. He brings a lot to the squad and obviously has experience in pressure moments, which is key to batting in the middle order in Twenty20."

With the ICC World Twenty20 in India in March, Hesson said these matches would provide key preparation.

"These will be our first Twenty20s of the summer and with the World Cup just around the corner these are two of the five games that the players can use to push their case for selection, but also more importantly win games for New Zealand.

"It's a side with a good balance of talent and experience."

Nathan McCullum was not available for selection due to a knee injury.

New Zealand Twenty20 Squad vs Sri Lanka: Kane Williamson (c), Corey Anderson, Trent Boult, Grant Elliott, Martin Guptill, Mitchell McClenaghan, Adam Milne, Colin Munro, Luke Ronchi, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor

We have regular online commentary of local and international sport.