Black Caps welcome back Taylor
England on Friday learned the exact identity of their New Zealand Twenty20 opposition as they headed north from Auckland to Whangarei - the venue for their first match action on tour.
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Stuart Broad's Twenty20 specialists, and Alastair Cook's one-day international side too for that matter, know for sure after New Zealand's squad announcements today that they will face former Kiwi captain Ross Taylor in both formats.
The destructive batsman returns as expected, having apparently re-established a working relationship with New Zealand coach Mike Hesson.
Player and coach met in Auckland earlier this week before Taylor took part in the ongoing Plunket Shield match for Central Districts against the hosts on the second ground at Eden Park.
The outcome then was sufficiently amicable for 28-year-old Taylor to return to the fold, having lost the captaincy in controversial circumstances on tour in Sri Lanka and subsequently missing the Test and limited-overs trip to South Africa.
He will be reinstated therefore, under the leadership of Brendon McCullum, for back-to-back series of three Twenty20s and three ODIs - starting next week.
Hesson today reflected not just on the inclusion of Taylor but also those of all-rounder Andrew Ellis in both squads and uncapped batsman Hamish Rutherford for the Twenty20s.
Ellis will captain Taylor for a New Zealand XI in two Twenty20 warm-up fixtures against England at Whangarei's Cobham Oval on Monday and Wednesday before the three-match series itself begins back in Auckland a week tomorrow.
Hesson said: "Andrew proved his worth with the team last summer, while Ross is a world-class batsman who is a key part of this Black Caps side.
"Hamish has shown he is an explosive batsman and we hope he can bring that form to the Black Caps."
Twenty-three-year-old opener Rutherford, the son of former Kiwi Test batsman Ken, is the only uncapped player to be selected in squads which are still missing frontline seamer Tim Southee while he continues his recovery from a thumb injury.
New Zealand's national selection general manager Kim Littlejohn said: "There are a couple of changes that have been forced through injury, but essentially we want to be seen to provide continuity from one series to the next.
"We are, however, looking at developing talented youngsters and finding a new crop of all-rounders in our build-up to the Champions Trophy in June and the 2015 Cricket World Cup."
England, meanwhile, undertook a low-key first outdoor training session of the tour today following their 120-mile drive north.
For Broad, it was another minor step on the road to proving his full fitness as he recovers from the heel injury which forced him home early from England's Test tour of India before Christmas.
The pace bowler will doubtless have a more intensive work-out, back at the Cobham Oval tomorrow, as England crank up their preparations with a second full net session.
Broad apart, the tourists were largely inactive as they acclimatised for two days in Auckland, their first stop here after the majority flew in from their ODI series defeat in India early on Wednesday morning local time.
Broad, unable to join Ashley Giles' squad in the sub-continent because of delays at snowbound Heathrow last month, made it to New Zealand shortly before the rest of the squad.
Unlike them too, he had already had one significant training session yesterday to assess his recovery so far from the bruising in his left heel.
Early indications are that he suffered no ill-effects from bowling outdoors for the first time in six weeks, on the second square at Eden Park during the lunch break on day two of the Auckland-CD match.
The England captain got through five overs, off his full run, under the watchful eyes of Giles and bowling coach David Saker.
It is therefore hoped Broad will be ready to lead England on Monday, an aim which will be increasingly feasible as long as he is able to bowl at full pace again tomorrow for the second time in three days.
:: New Zealand Twenty20 squad (v England, starting February 9): B McCullum (Captain, wkt), T Boult, I Butler, G Elliott, A Ellis, J Franklin, M Guptill, R Hira, M McClenaghan, N McCullum, C Munro, H Rutherford, R Taylor
:: New Zealand ODI squad (v England, starting February 17): B McCullum (Captain, wkt), T Boult, G Elliott, A Ellis, J Franklin, M Guptill, M McClenaghan, N McCullum, Kyle Mills, C Munro, R Taylor, BJ Watling, K Williamson