New Zealand will welcome back opening batsman Martin Guptill for the fourth ODI against South Africa in Hamilton on March 1.
Guptill missed the first three games of the series due to a pair of hamstring injuries, but having made a full recovery, he is likely to make his comeback on Wednesday as the Black Caps have to win in order to stay alive in the five-match series.
What will be even more encouraging is the fact that Guptill has batted in the nets throughout his rehabilitation period, which will give him some confidence ahead of the fourth ODI.
“He’s been batting all the way through, it was more about strength in the hamstring when running at top speed,” New Zealand head coach Mike Hesson said. “Sure, you haven’t played in the middle so it will be challenging but he’s a world-class player and [we’re] pleased to have him back.”
Meanwhile, Luke Ronchi is set to take over the keeping duties from opening batsman Tom Latham.
Even though Ronchi is set to come back into the side, it remains unclear whether Latham will be able to keep hold of his spot as he has been dismissed for single figure scores in his last six innings, three of which have been ducks.
“We talked at the start of the series about giving both keepers an opportunity. Tom has had the first three, so Luke is likely to have an opportunity there,” Hesson said. “We are delighted to have Martin back and that allows us to do that a lot easier.
“I don’t think anything is more important than anything else, the ODI series is huge for us. Tom has struggled the last little while, he came off a great series in India, and has come home and hasn’t quite reached those heights yet.”
Spinner Jeetan Patel has also been brought into the squad for the fourth ODI, but Hesson hinted that captain Kane Williamson could play a larger role with the ball in Hamilton.
“With Kane bowling, depending on conditions, he’s very much a sixth option and Hamilton is probably those conditions,” Hesson said. “Whether we go with the two all-rounders, or slot Luke in a little higher we have options.”
New Zealand Squad for fourth ODI: Kane Williamson (capt), Trent Boult, Neil Broom, Dean Brownlie, Lockie Ferguson , Colin de Grandhomme, Martin Guptill, Tom Latham, James Neesham, Jeetan Patel, Luke Ronchi, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor.