Southee to lead Black Caps in SL T20Is

Wellington, Aug 20 (IANS) Right-arm pacer Tim Southee will captain New Zealand in a three-match T20I series against Sri Lanka starting September 1 in Kandy.

Regular skipper Kane Williamson and paceman Trent Boult will be returning home for a pre-planned rest following the current Test series, which Sri Lanka are currently leading 1-0.

The 14-man squad features three specialist spinners in Ish Sodhi, Mitchell Santner and Todd Astle.

"Kane and Trent played an enormous role in our recent World Cup campaign and with a big summer ahead, we see it as a good opportunity to give them a rest," said selector Gavin Larsen.

"The series in Sri Lanka will be a challenging one against a team who are tough to beat in their own conditions."

He also said the series represented the start of a new T20 cycle, with nine T20Is series scheduled for the side ahead of next October's World T20 in Australia.

"Following that amazing ride in the ODI World Cup, it's exciting to begin setting our sights on another world event," Larsen said.

"Our T20 team has been pretty consistent over the past couple of years and we're really happy with the power and versatility we have in this squad."

Squad: Tim Southee (c), Todd Astle, Tom Bruce, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Scott Kuggeleijn, Daryl Mitchell, Colin Munro, Seth Rance, Mitchell Santner, Tim Seifert (wk), Ish Sodhi, Ross Taylor.

--IANS

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