Williamson to lead New Zealand on Africa tour

WELLINGTON: Batsman Kane Williamson will get another chance to prove his leadership credentials after being named New Zealand captain for limited overs series in Zimbabwe and South Africa next month.

Regular captain Brendon McCullum, 33, is being rested for a tour that includes six one day internationals and three Twenty20 matches.

Swing bowler Tim Southee is also rested, while his new ball partner Trent Boult and all-rounder Corey Anderson were not considered due to injury.

All-rounder Jimmy Neesham and fast bowler Adam Milne return to the side after lengthy injury layoffs.

Bowling all-rounder Doug Bracewell will travel for the South Africa leg only, while leg-spinner Ish Sodhi will be in the side for the three one-dayers and one Twenty20 match in Zimbabwe.

"We think Ish will be useful on pitches which tend to be slow and take turn, and against a Zimbabwe team stacked with right-handers," coach Mike Hesson said in a statement.

"But were unlikely to need a third spinner in South Africa, which is why we've opted for another seamer in Doug."

Williamson, 24, led New Zealand in their one-day series against Pakistan in United Arab Emirates last year with McCullum returning to New Zealand to rest before a long summer that included the one-day World Cup.

McCullum is committed to leading the New Zealand side until after the Twenty20 World Cup in India next year, but is widely expected to retire from international cricket at the conclusion of the tournament.

"This is a team which has built up an impressive record on the international circuit in recent times and the expectation is that we continue to perform, regardless of who might be missing," Hesson added.

"Our focus is on continuing to produce strong team performances, rather than be distracted by the presence or absence of specific individuals."

Squad: Kane Williamson (captain), Doug Bracewell*, Grant Elliott, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Mitchell McClenaghan, Nathan McCullum, Adam Milne, Colin Munro, James Neesham, Luke Ronchi, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi#, Ross Taylor, Ben Wheeler