Until very recently, Matt Henry has been New Zealand's perennial 12th man. Considered the fourth seamer for tests and the third opening bowler for One Day Internationals he's had to wait for Southee or Boult to be injured in order to get a game. That all changed this summer, however, when he started to get picked ahead of Tim Southee.
The calls had been going out for him to get an extended run for a while. After all, he had probably the fourth best record of any pace bowler from New Zealand, after Shane Bond, Richard Hadlee and Trent Boult. Unfortunately, he did not make the most of his opportunity. Over the past 12 months, he has had the worst average and second worst economy rate and strike rate of the six New Zealand seamers. If anything he's made it difficult for the selectors to pick him, rather than the other way round.
He had an excellent season with the red ball in England as the overseas pro for Kent, picking up 74 wickets at 14.67 in the County Championship, but his white ball form was not as compelling, While he took 16 wickets, he finished outside the top 50 for average, economy rate and strike rate in the Royal London Cup.
Henry is probably the quickest of the three New Zealand opening bowlers, and, unlike Southee and Boult, is more reliant on seam and bounce than swing. This will mean that his selection or otherwise may be decided by the match day conditions as much as his form. An overcast day or slow pitch could favour Southee while a sunny day or green pitch could favour Henry.
While not quite in the league of Trent Boult in the outfield, Henry is also a high-quality fielder, and has taken some spectacular catches.
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