New Zealand selectors have snubbed Trent Boult for this week’s first Test against England, instead controversially recalling Scott Kuggeleijn after Kyle Jamieson was ruled out with injury.
Kuggeleijn was in 2015 arrested on rape charges, for which he was tried twice with the jury unable to reach a verdict the first time, before a not-guilty verdict was handed down at the retrial.
Kuggeleijn’s own testimony saw him tell the court: “I tried (having sex) twice, like she might have said ‘no, no’ a few times but it wasn’t dozens of times’.”
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A friend’s testimony said that Kuggeleijn “had been trying for a while and she said ‘no’ but in the morning it was all good”.
His alleged victim claimed that her arms were pinned down and she was told to be quiet as she cried, while Kuggeleijn’s own lawyer successfully argued that “reluctant consent” was given.
Kuggeleijn was found not guilty and, weeks later, was making his debut for New Zealand when he was booed.
One glance at social media after his latest selection was announced on Tuesday will show you that his name is still not one to slip under the radar of cricket fans.
New Zealand coach Gary Stead has defended the decision to re-call the 31-year-old fast bowler, who is yet to play a Test match, and has 274 first class wickets at 32.52.
“I get given the players I can choose from and we have gone with a resilient character from a bowling point of view,” he said.
“He is a guy when you lose two key bowlers, you look around and ask who are the guys who can do a job for us internationally and he is one who can.”
Kuggeleijn was picked after scans revealed that towering 28-year-old Jamieson had sustained another fracture in his back, which he initially injured in June.
His selection comes over Black Caps great Boult, who turned down a central contract with New Zealand last year.
He has not retired from international cricket, but turned down the contract to increase his availability to play in lucrative T20 leagues across the globe.
“We have spoke to Trent Boult recently and it has been decided since he gave up his contract that we will give priority to the locally contracted players and we have done that on this occasion,” Stead said.
Meanwhile, Stuart Broad and James Anderson will reunite for the first Test, both picked for the day-night affair at Mount Maunganui from Thursday (12pm AEDT).
This week could see the pair overtake Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath as the most prolific in Test history.
The Australian pair took 1,001 wickets in 104 Tests together, while Broad and Anderson stand on 997 from 132.
Broad, 36, and Anderson, 40, haven’t played a Test together since the Sydney Test 13 months ago.
“The team we’ve picked, especially with the ball, has all the bases covered, especially in these type of conditions,” captain Ben Stokes said.
“The bowling group have been great together. They have been discussing what they feel is working. People like Jimmy and Broady, who have played quite a few of these pink-ball matches, are still coming to terms with it.
“Some balls swing, some balls don’t, then they will try to bowl the same ball and it will react differently. But they have bowled really well together and discussed how they feel is the best way to bowl with the pink ball.”