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New Zealand on Sunday announced a 13-member squad for their upcoming T20I series against Australia, starting Monday, February 22.

New Zealand on Sunday announced a 13-member squad for their upcoming T20I series against Australia, starting Monday, February 22 at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch.

Martin Guptill has returned to the team despite struggling with a lingering hamstring setback. He recently played four matches for Auckland in the domestic T20 cup, scoring 46 runs at an average of 11.50.

Youngster Finn Allen has been named as a backup in case Guptill can’t make the cut for the T20I series. Gavin Larsen, national selector, couldn’t ignore the fact that Guptill has been one of the key members of the Black Caps’ setup. But, he will have to prove his fitness in order to make the cut.

“Martin’s our incumbent opener and our highest T20 International run-scorer so we’re backing him to do the job at the top of the order. He will need to prove his fitness and it’s good to know we have a ready replacement in Finn on standby,” Larsen was quoted as saying by stuff.co.nz.

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As far as the 21-year-old Allen is concerned, he amassed 512 runs in the T20 competition with two scores in the 90s against Otago and Northern Districts, respectively. He also scored 73, 66, and 75 against Auckland, Central Districts, and Northern Districts respectively.

Devon Conway, fresh from his 63-ball 93 in the Super Smash decider, said it didn’t diminish the series by any means. Conway has featured in 6 T20Is for the Blackcaps, scoring 174 runs at an average of 58 with a top score of an unbeaten 65.

“It’s about winning a game; whoever’s playing in that match is irrelevant for me. Yes, it’s pretty cool to come up against some of those guys have been around for a long time but we’ve got a job to do,” he said.

New Zealand and Australia will play 5 T20Is, starting from February 22 in Christchurch, followed by matches in Dunedin, Wellington, Auckland, and Mount Maunganui.

New Zealand squad: Kane Williamson (c), Hamish Bennett, Trent Boult, Mark Chapman, Devon Conway, Martin Guptill, Kyle Jamieson, Jimmy Neesham, Glenn Phillips, Mitchell Santner, Tim Seifert, Ish Sodhi, and Tim Southee.

Australia squad: Aaron Finch (c), Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Adam Zampa, Ashton Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Mitchell Marsh, Ben McDermott, Riley Meredith, Josh Philippe, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Daniel Sams, Tanveer Sangha, D’Arcy Short, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, and Matthew Wade.

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