Wellington: New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum is set to return to his customary middle-order slot for the two-Test series against Sri Lanka starting in Christchurch on Boxing Day.
McCullum opened with Tom Latham in all three Tests during the recent series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates, scoring a double-century in the final match at Sharjah.
However, in naming a 13-man squad to play Sri Lanka, New Zealand`s chief selector Bruce Edgar said Sunday that McCullum will not continue in the opening role.
"This is another series, in different conditions and against a completely different opponent," Edgar said.
"In these circumstances, we feel Brendon`s better suited to, and offers more value, down the order."
McCullum`s move means Hamish Rutherford is likely to return to the opening duties in partnership with Latham.
The newly named squad also includes off-spinner Mark Craig ahead of Ish Sodhi as the sole specialist tweaker.
The pair played together in the spin-friendly conditions in the UAE but the New Zealand wickets will favour a seam attack.
The squad also features a recall for batsman Dean Brownlie while all-rounder Corey Anderson was not available after suffering a groin strain while playing against Pakistan.
Veteran Dan Vettori was not mentioned in the announcement, indicting his appearance in the third Test against Pakistan was a one-off.
New Zealand squad: Brendon McCullum (captain), Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Dean Brownlie, Mark Craig, Tom Latham, James Neesham, Hamish Rutherford, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling, Kane Williamson