New Zealand Pick Will Somerville, Ajaz Patel for Sri Lanka Test Series
On Monday (July 29) New Zealand Cricket (NZC) had announced the 15-man Test squad for their Sri Lanka tour. In their spin-heavy team, the Black Caps have recalled Ajaz Patel apart from picking the right-arm off-spinner, Somerville.
Somerville had made his Test debut in December 2018 against Pakistan. Somerville, 34, had bagged seven wickets in his solitary Test. With his economy reading as 2.26, Somerville further maintains his average as 18.1. He also managed to snare a four-wicket haul against Pakistan.
The two-Test series will get underway on August 14 which will also mark the beginning of Kiwis participation in the ICC World Test Champions which will culminate in 2021.
Interestingly, both teams will support numbers and names on the back of their Test shirts.
Santner has returned to the Test fold:
So much so, New Zealand have named as many as four spinners which includes premium left-arm spinner, Mitchell Santner. Santner didn’t play a Test fixture since December 2017 after suffering from an injury.
Also, the promising leg-spinner Todd Astle has been backed in the squad. Besides, the left-arm spinner Ajaz has impressed the selectors with his show in the domestic circuit. Ajaz has represented the Black Caps in five Tests since November 2018.
Besides, the leg-spinner Astle had made debut for Kiwis in 2012 to play just four Tests.
Meanwhile, senior duo Trent Boult and Tim Southee will be assisted by Neil Wagner and medium pacer Colin de Grandhomme in the pace department.
New Zealand Coach Gary Stead sheds light on the Test squad:
Meanwhile, Kiwis chief coach Gary Stead maintained the squad had been announced while considering the conditions. He further asserted that they’re hopeful that they will deliver best on the Lankan soil.
“Playing three spinners is an option in Sri Lankan conditions, and we believe this group provides the best variations and skill mix on offer,” ICC digital quoted Stead, as saying.
While citing an example of the Three Lions when they toured the Island nation in 2018, Stead said they had used three spinners. He also remarked that the success of spinners against South Africa is the strong reason for going with four slow bowlers.
“England were playing three spinners against Sri Lanka on their successful visit there last year, and the slow bowlers also dominated the previous series against South Africa,” Stead added.
Stead also reiterated that they as a team had moved forward following an incredible run during the recently-held twelfth edition of the World Cup.
“It’s good timing for us after the World Cup. It was an incredible time for the team and the country. But we’re now excited to move forward as a group and sink our teeth into another opportunity,” Stead concluded.
Apart from the Test series, the Kiwis will face Sri Lanka in the three-match T20Is.
New Zealand’s 15-Man Squad for Two-match Test series against Sri Lanka:
Kane Williamson (c), Tom Latham, Jeet Raval, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, B.J. Watling, Tom Blundell (wk), Colin de Grandhomme, Ajaz Patel, Mitchell Santner, Todd Astle, Will Somerville, Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Neil Wagner.
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