Jeetan Patel and Jimmy Neesham have been brought back to the Test circuit whereas Matt Henry and Dean Brownlie have been dropped for the first Test match against South Africa. Both Henry and Brownlie will now head to domestic cricket and will play Day/Night domestic fixture next week.
Selector Gavin Larsen said that it is the variety of spin that Patel offers, which is the reason he has been included in the squad for the first Test,
“Jeetan brings the ability to spin the ball away from the left-handers, which complements our other spinner in Mitchell Santner nicely,” said Larsen.
“He brings a huge amount of experience to the team and gives us the balance of having two front-line spin options.”
Neil Wagner was deemed fit to participate in the Test match and while announcing the squad, Larsen confirmed that Wagner is cleared to take part in the game. Along with that, he also praised Jimmy Neesham for his recent form, which has been the primary reason behind his comeback,
“Jimmy has impressed so far this summer and we’ve seen improvement in his game. He gives us another option and is also very familiar with the conditions at University of Otago Oval.
“Having Neil back and available is fantastic news for us. Neil’s been our leading wicket-taker in recent times and is a key player for us.”
“He’s worked extremely hard to get himself ready for the series and we expect him to be fit and ready to go come the first Test.”
As reported earlier, there was no place for senior batsman Martin Guptill, who was dropped from the Test squad last year after an abysmal show in India.
The first Test of the series will kick off on March 8 before both the teams face each other again in Wellington and Hamilton from March 16 and 25 respectively.