WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Hamish Rutherford will hope for an easier introduction to test cricket than his father after being named in New Zealand's squad on Sunday for the first test against England which starts at Dunedin on March 6.

Dunedin-based Rutherford will play his first test while 34-year-old veteran Peter Fulton has been recalled for his 11th and his first since 2009 as New Zealand's latest attempt to find a stable opening partnership.

The need to find two new openers arose when Martin Guptill was ruled out of the three-test series with a thumb injury and when captain Brendon McCullum elected to bat further down the order.

Rutherford's father is former New Zealand captain Ken Rutherford, who made his test debut aged 19 against the fearsome West Indies fast bowling unit of Malcolm Marshall, Joel Garner and Michael Holding.

Ken Rutherford made a pair on debut in the 1984-85 series in the West Indies and managed just 12 runs in his first seven test innings. But the selectors kept faith in him and he blossomed into an outstanding top-order batsman, eventually his team's captain. He went on to play 56 tests in which he scored three centuries and 18 half centuries.

The Rutherfords are the ninth father-son combination to play in tests for New Zealand.

Hamish Rutherford has already tasted international action this season in New Zealand's Twenty20 and one-day international series against England. He managed a highest score of 40 in the Twenty20 series and a best of 11 in the one-day matches but his strengths are seen to be in the longer form of the game.

He has an average of 42 and a highest score of 239 in his 19 appearances for his Otago province.

Rutherford faces a task as challenging if not as daunting as his father's on test debut. He doesn't face the formidable West Indies pace attack of the mid-1980s but rather the exacting bowling of the England new ball pair of James Anderson and Steven Finn.

Anderson and Finn have the ability to do with line and length, with swing and seam what the West Indies did with blistering pace.

Fulton may have to shake off the last vestige of a knee injury to confirm his place at the top of the New Zealand order. He was due to open the batting in New Zealand's most recent test series in South Africa before suffering that injury which forced him to return home.

The Canterbury veteran may have been lucky to avoid that series in which New Zealand suffered consecutive innings defeats, being bowled out for 45 runs in a session in the first test at Cape Town.

He earns his recall on the basis of his outstanding form in the domestic Plunkett Shield this season. Fulton is averaging 55 in the four-day competition, though in his 10 previous matches at test level, he has averaged only 20 with a highest score of 75.

The pair was not confirmed on Sunday as New Zealand's opening partnership for the first test at Dunedin's University Oval. But coach Mike Hesson said they were the "most likely" combination to start the test series. Rutherford will play in a four-day warmup match against England at Queenstown and has a chance in that match to clinch his test debut.

He will compete directly against young allrounder Tom Latham who could win the opener's role if Rutherford seriously stumbles.

"We picked Peter (Fulton) to tour South Africa and he would have played there if he hadn't been injured," Hesson said. "That leaves young Hamish and Tom to battle for the other opening spot.

"They've been in good form and are both products of our successful New Zealand A programme."

Left-arm spinner Bruce Martin is also in line to make his test debut aged 32 after winning a place in the 12-man sqaud left vacant by the injured Daniel Vettori.

An additional fast bowler will be added to the squad after the warmup match at Queenstown.

___

New Zealand: Brendon McCullum (captain), Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Dean Brownlie, Peter Fulton, Tom Latham, Bruce Martin, Hamish Rutherford, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, BJ Watling, Kane Williamson.

 

Advertisement