Broom called up as Taylor’s replacement

“It does provide an opportunity for Neil to step up and show us that he is ready for Test cricket”

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New Zealand have brought in Neil Broom as a replacement for middle order batsman Ross Taylor ahead of the second Test against South Africa in Wellington on March 16.

Taylor has been ruled out of the second Test and will be assessed prior to the third Test in Hamilton on March 25 after being diagnosed with a low grade tear in his right calf.

Broom, who gave up his contract with Derbyshire in order to resume his international career after nearly seven years, regained his spot in the limited overs teams at the beginning of the season and even though he has yet to make his Test debut, he became the frontrunner to take Taylor’s spot due to his experience in domestic cricket.

Furthermore, with Dean Brownlie currently nursing an injury, he was not considered for selection.

“Neil has been around the one-day group for a period of time and been very successful,” New Zealand captain Kane Williamson said. “He has played a lot of domestic cricket and been around for a long period of time.”

New Zealand head coach Mike Hesson added: “We’ve got an inexperienced batting line up so we were keen to have somebody with plenty of playing experience, someone who can play pace well and Neil has seen a little bit of South Africa before. We are going to miss Ross and that calming influence in the middle order, but it does provide an opportunity for Neil to step up and show us that he is ready for Test cricket.”

While New Zealand are confident that Broom will succeed in the longest format, South Africa captain Faf du Plessis was not so sure as he pointed out that the 33-year-old failed to have an impact in the three games he played in the five-match ODI series last month, where he made scores of 2, 2 and 0.

“I haven’t played against him with the red ball,” Du Plessis said. “Seen a bit on him in the one-dayers. We were quite successful in getting rid of him so hopefully that will continue. It’s the experience they are going to miss with Ross. They can’t replace that straight away.”

Batsman Colin Munro’s name was also mentioned after he struck a pair of centuries in a Plunket Shield match against Central Districts, but Hesson hinted that the 30-year-old is better suited to limited overs cricket.

“We are after an experienced middle-order player who can provide some solidity,” Hesson said. “Colin is a different sort of player to that. Obviously very destructive on his day.”

Meanwhile, left-arm seamer Trent Boult will be closely monitored in the lead-up to the second Test after he missed the final session on the fourth day of the first Test in Dunedin with a hip problem.

“Boult is better today than yesterday. Yesterday he was in discomfort and we decided it wasn’t a good idea for him to bowl. We will monitor him over the next couple of days,” Hesson said.

The first Test ended as a draw after the final day was washed out due to heavy rain. As a result, both teams are tied at 0-0 heading into the second Test.

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