Michael Bracewell was named captain of a weakened New Zealand squad to play five Twenty20 internationals in Pakistan later this month as part of preparations for June’s World Cup in the Caribbean and the United States.

The 33-year-old all-rounder was a surprise selection to lead the squad having missed last year’s 50-overs World Cup with an Achilles rupture and played his last T20 international more than a year ago.

With nine first-choice players unavailable because of Indian Premier League duties and test skipper Tim Southee rested, young seamer Will O’Rourke and batsman Tim Robinson will have a chance to win their first caps in the format.

O’Rourke impressed on debut with the test side against South Africa in February, while Robinson earned his spot with a torrent of runs for Wellington in the domestic Super Smash competition.

The Black Caps will face Pakistan in three matches in Rawalpindi and two in Lahore from April 18. The T20 World Cup runs from June 1 to 29.

Squad: Michael Bracewell (captain), Finn Allen, Mark Chapman, Josh Clarkson, Jacob Duffy, Dean Foxcroft, Ben Lister, Cole McConchie, Adam Milne, Jimmy Neesham, Will O’Rourke, Tim Robinson, Ben Sears, Tim Seifert, Ish Sodhi.

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