January 30, 2016 / 5:32 AM / 2 years ago

McCullum to play final one-day series pending fitness

New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum inspects the ball during the fourth day of the second cricket test match against Australia at the WACA ground in Perth, Western Australia, November 16, 2015. REUTERS/David Gray

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum has been named to lead his country in his final one-day series against Australia next month, providing he can prove his fitness.

The 34-year-old is expected to play New Zealand’s third and final one-day international against Pakistan in Auckland on Sunday, as he makes his way back from a back injury he sustained last month against Sri Lanka.

“I’ve had a good couple of hits (in the nets),” McCullum told reporters in Auckland on Saturday. “It’s probably not 100 per cent but there’s a bit of stiffness so hopefully I’ll be fine for tomorrow.”

Tom Latham was named as cover for McCullum, who will retire after the second test against Australia in Christchurch next month.

Top order batsman Ross Taylor (side) and bowlers Tim Southee (foot) and Mitchell McClenaghan (eye) were not considered for the three-match one day series against Australia that starts next Wednesday due to injury.

“This is a pinnacle event for us and we will look to get our best side out on the park each time we play,” New Zealand coach Mike Hesson said on Saturday.

“We’ve been lucky enough to use a big squad over the summer and although were missing a few key players, we have guys who can step in and we know are up to the task.”

Australia, who flew to New Zealand on Saturday, would be without coach Darren Lehmann for the one-day series as he recovers from deep vein thrombosis that has restricted his travel.

“We are still awaiting medical advice on when Darren is able to return to work,” Cricket Australia high performance manager Pat Howard said.

“As he is not available for the ODI component of the New Zealand tour we have decided to remain with the current management team that will see Michael Di Venuto serve as acting head coach.”

New Zealand squad for Australia one-day series: Brendon McCullum (captain), Corey Anderson, Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Grant Elliott, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham*, Adam Milne, Colin Munro, Henry Nicholls, Luke Ronchi, Mitchell Santner, Kane Williamson.

* injury cover

Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Melbourne; Editing by Sudipto Ganguly

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