Tim Southee fit for ODI series against South Africa

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New Zealand seamer Tim Southee will be fit to play in the upcoming three-match ODI series with South Africa, despite sitting out a warm-up game with a shoulder injury, reports ESPN.

The 25-year-old – who has 105 ODI wickets and more than 250 dismissals in all competitions – will be a big boost for the side with his presence as the Kiwis look to begin preparations for next year’s 50-over World Cup.

The hosts will also look to offer playing time to batsmen Dean Brownlie and Tom Latham, who are in the squad for Monday’s opening match in Mount Maunganui.

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ODI series

AB de Villiers last week named New Zealand amongst the favourites to win the 2015 World Cup. The South African skipper feels that the co-hosts can make the most of conditions and home support to be a real contender to win the competition.

Playing on home soil against South Africa over the coming weeks will help us to gauge just how much of a threat the Black Caps may be next spring.

Daniel Vettori’s place in the 14-man squad will also allow the legendary off-spinner the chance to stake a claim to play at yet another World Cup.

Meanwhile, Brownlie and Latham are set to win their fourth and 14th ODI caps respectively if they are selected. Now is a better time than any for either batsman to work their way
into the side.

Southee’s return

Tim Southee last played for Northern District at the Champions League T20 at the back end of September, but a shoulder pain ruled him out of contention for New Zealand’s warm-up game against Scotland.

New Zealand A laboured to a one-run win over the Scots, looking likely to lose with their opponents requiring two from the last two deliveries. But Brendon McCullum claimed a final ball run-out to save the hosts’ blushes.

The return of their frontline seamer is likely to provide more opportunities for wickets, which will be essential against a South African batting line-up that includes AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla.

World Cup

New Zealand enter next year’s World Cup looking to win the competition for the very first time. But playing at home hands them a great chance to better their usual elimination in the semi-finals of the tournament.

Southee himself has a great record in tournament cricket. He was the second-leading wicket taker at the under-19s World Cup in 2008 and took 18 wickets at an average of 17.33 at the 2011 World Cup.

New Zealand have been drawn in Pool A for next year’s competition, where they will play group games against England, Australia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Scotland.

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