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Ajaz Patel

Mushfiqur Rahim
Mushfiqur Rahim
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Russell Domingo Reveals Mushfiqur Rahim Doesn’t Want To Keep In T20Is Anymore

Russell Domingo, Bangladesh head coach has revealed that Mushfiqur Rahim does not want to do wicketkeeping in the shortest format of the game anymore. Russell Domingo’s revelation came after Bangladesh’s defeat in the third T20I against New Zealand on Sunday.

Mushfiqur Rahim has informed the Bangladesh team management that he will no longer keep wickets in T20Is, according to Russell Domingo. Mushfiqur Rahim didn’t keep wicket in the 3rd T20I against New Zealand, although it was declared before the series that he would split wicketkeeping duties with Nurul Hasan in the first four games.

Russell Domingo
Russell Domingo Image Source: TWITTER/BCBTIGERS

Russell Domingo: Bangladesh’s Mushfiqur Rahim Doesn’t Want To Keep Wickets In T20Is Anymore

Russell Domingo said that they have to quickly move on to allow Nurul Hasan, who has been keeping wicket in Bangladesh’s recent cluster of T20Is since mid-July, to be the No. 1 wicketkeeper going into the T20I World Cup.

This is the first time that Mushfiqur Rahim has told the team management that he wants to give up wicketkeeping. Normally, he has insisted that he wants to play as a wicketkeeper-batter, particularly in the last five years when his wicketkeeping has come under the scanner. The most recent occasion was the second ODI against New Zealand in March this year when he dropped Tom Latham at a crucial stage of the game.

“There has been a change in plans. Initially, after speaking to Mushy, he was going to keep after the second game. But he told me he probably doesn’t want to keep wicket in T20s anymore, so we have to move on. I don’t think Mushfiqur’s desire to keep in this format is great anymore. We have to focus on Nurul Hasan Sohan, and let him do those duties going into the competition,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Russell Domingo as saying.

Mushfiqur Rahim is yet to come out in the open and reveal his side of the story on why he does not want to don the wicketkeeping gloves in the shortest format of the game. Spinner Ajaz Patel’s four-wicket haul helped New Zealand defend 128 and defeat Bangladesh by 52 runs in the third T20I of the five-match series here at the Shere Bangla National Stadium on Sunday.

Mushfiqur Rahim
Mushfiqur Rahim(Reuters Photo)

With this win, New Zealand registered their first win of the series and the five-game series stands at 2-1 in favour of Bangladesh. The fourth T20I will now be played on Wednesday. Chasing 129, no Bangladesh batter got going and the top-scorer was Mushfiqur Rahim as he played a knock of 20 runs. The Bangladesh innings folded inside 19.4 overs.

Nurul Hasan Is In Good Form Behind The Stumps

When Mushfiqur Rahim missed the T20Is against Zimbabwe and Australia due to a family emergency, Nurul Hasan took over with good form both behind and in front of the stumps. It opened up a bit of competition between the two, which the team management decided should be settled by splitting the wicketkeeping duties over four matches of a five-match series.

Mushfiqur Rahim has been a regular wicketkeeper in ODIs and till 2020, in T20Is. His inclusion as a wicketkeeper-batter allows the team to have the luxury of playing two world-class all-rounders. But there are many in Bangladesh who believe, with reason, that Mushfiqur Rahim should focus his energy on only batting, as he is arguably Bangladesh’s best all-format batter.
Mushfiqur Rahim plays a shot against Sri Lanka. - AFP
Mushfiqur Rahim plays a shot against Sri Lanka. – AFP
At the same time, Nurul Hasan’s reputation as the country’s best wicketkeeper is backed by good domestic performances this year. For the selectors and team management, he was too hard to ignore as the wicketkeeper in Bangladesh’s white-ball teams.

Left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel claimed a career-best 4-16 as New Zealand kept alive its Twenty20 series against Bangladesh with a thumping 52-run victory in the third game on Sunday. Off-spinner Cole McConchie (3-15) and left-arm spinner Rachin Ravindra (1-13) also played their part in dismissing Bangladesh for only 76 in 19.4 overs after New Zealand had recovered from 62-5 to a total of 128-5 on a slow surface.

Dale Steyn
Dale Steyn
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Dale Steyn Suggests India Might Want To Alter Their Playing XI

Dale Steyn has suggested that Team India might want to alter their playing XI despite announcing their team well in advance for the inaugural marquee World Test Championship final against New Zealand. Although India has gone in with two specialist spinners, Dale Steyn believes Virat Kohli’s team could include an extra seamer ahead of the toss today(the 2nd day).

New Zealand, meanwhile, is keeping their cards close to their chest as they are yet to announce their playing XI. In a press conference on Friday, Tom Latham stated that the Kiwi team management would have a look at the pitch before taking the final call on the team combination.

Dale Steyn
Dale Steyn Photograph: Christiaan Kotze/AFP/Getty Images

Dale Steyn: India Welcome If They Want To Change Previously Declared Team  And Bring In An Extra Seamer

But Dale Steyn praised India’s approach as it showed that they are confident of getting a positive result in the summit clash against top-ranked Kiwis.

The South African pacer Dale Steyn said in an interaction with ESPNCricinfo: “I like what they (Team India) have done. They have come out and told the world, the team that they are going to go with. But they only have to hand in the team sheet at the toss so if they want to change their team and bring in an extra seamer, they are more than welcome to do that. They probably might even do that.”

Ajaz Patel
Ajaz Patel (Photo Credit: ICC/Twitter)

Dale Steyn further added that India’s approach shows that they have a clear game plan heading into the WTC Final.

“It gives the players the opportunity to prepare and lets the opposition know that this team is ready. They have worked out how they are going to go about winning this Test match and they are putting it all out there.”

R Sridhar: Since The Toss Is Not Yet Over, A Decision On The Final XI Will Be Taken At The Time Of The Toss

Team India fielding coach R Sridhar hinted that the side is keeping their options open of a possible change in the playing XI before the toss. However, he added that the playing XI India named could win any Test, irrespective of the conditions on offer.

Mohammed Siraj
Mohammed Siraj. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Speaking at a press conference after Day 1 of the final was washed out, R. Sridhar stated: “The XI that was announced (previously) is a team that takes the pitch and conditions out of the equation. They can perform in any given weather conditions. Having said that, the toss is not yet over, so a decision on the final XI will be taken at the time of the toss if needed,”

Mohammed Siraj’s form in the Test series against Australia and England earlier this year might tempt the Indian team management to go in with an extra seamer. It remains to be seen what decision Team India will make when Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson turn up for the toss on the Day 2 of the WTC final. Play may be possible on the second day with weather conditions bright and sunny.

Incessant rain washed out the opening day of the much-anticipated World Test Championship final at the Rose Bowl in Southampton, however, the weather forecast remains positive for at least the first half of the second day of the summit clash. Despite day 1 being washed out, the presence of a reserve sixth day mitigated the frustration. Day 2 hence will witness the toss for the summit clash and each day will likely have 98 overs.

Playing XI: Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Rishabh Pant.

Tom Latham is an underrated weapon for the Black Caps. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
HAMILTON, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 29: Tom Latham of New Zealand bats during day 1 of the second Test match between New Zealand and England at Seddon Park on November 29, 2019 in Hamilton, New Zealand. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
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Tom Latham Leads New Zealand To First Series Win In The UK Since 1999

Tom Latham led the New Zealand team to a memorable 1-0 Test series triumph in the two-match series against hosts England, in the absence of injured Kane Williamson, which is their first in the UK since 1999.

Tom Latham, New Zealand vice-captain on Sunday said of their challengers for the World Test Championship crown, describing the Virat-Kohli unit as a “completely different side” from vanquished England.

New Zealand's Tom Latham, left, holds the winners' trophy as he stands with teammate Kane Williamson after their win in the second cricket test match against England at Edgbaston. (Photo | AP)
New Zealand’s Tom Latham holds the winners’ trophy.  (Photo | AP)

Tom Latham: India Has Got A Fantastic Set Of Bowlers And Quality Batsmen

Kane Williamson (elbow), BJ Watling (back), and Mitchel Santner (finger) were ruled out before the toss in the 2nd Test through injury and were replaced by Will Young, Tom Blundell, and Ajaz Patel. Trent Boult and Matt Henry shared the new ball in place of Tim Southee and Kyle Jamieson, while Daryl Mitchell replaced Colin de Grandhomme at number seven as New Zealand made as many as 6 changes from the 1st Test.

Asked where does he see the biggest danger from India coming, Latham said, “All around the board.”

“They’ve got a fantastic set of bowlers, a lot of quality batsmen that have scored runs in different conditions all round the world. They were over here a few years ago and played really well, so we know we’ll have to play well to beat them.”

Ishant Sharma (Photo by Dibyangshu SARKAR / AFP)
Ishant Sharma (Photo by Dibyangshu SARKAR / AFP)

While the team celebrated a fine series triumph, Tom Latham said the focus will shift to India in two days’ time.

“The preparation has been great but it’s important that we do shift our focus and adapt to a completely different side,” he said at the post-match press conference.

Ishant Sharma(3/36) and Rishabh Pant have been some of the best performers in the ongoing India intra-squad practice match in Southampton before the WTC final. Openers Shubman Gill (85 off 135 balls) and Rishabh Pant (121* off 94 balls) shone with the bat. Ravindra Jadeja scored an unbeaten 54 off 76 balls in India’s intra-squad practice match at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton. With the ball, Mohammed Siraj impressed with figures of 2/22 on the third day of the four-day practice match.

The duo of Henry Nicholls and Devon Conway are in terrific form of late. Henry Nicholls who has a Test career average of 43.4 has averaged 47.3 in 2020 and 65.5 in 2021 amassing more than 500 runs combined in the last two years. Devon Conway, who cemented his place in the side with 200 on debut in the series opener at Lord’s, produced another valuable inning of 80 in the 2nd Test against England.

Tom Latham Stresses On Celebrating Since It Was Their First Test Series Win Since 1999 In England

Tom Latham said that India’s performances on their tour of England in 2018 — albeit in a 4-1 series defeat — showed that they would be tough to beat at the Ageas Bowl. The inaugural WTC final is scheduled to be held in Southampton from June 18-23. With the match finishing in under four days, the Kiwis will get a day extra to rest and prepare for the India challenge.

“Great to put the feet up for a day, the big challenge coming up but looking forward to celebrating, haven’t won here since 1999, so celebrate tonight and then look forward,” Latham said.

“Great support from Kiwis, the English, and also back home. The atmosphere was amazing.”

New Zealand batsman Tom Latham acknowledges the crowd after reaching his century (Photo: AFP)
New Zealand batsman Tom Latham acknowledges the crowd after reaching his century (Photo: AFP)

New Zealand won the match by eight wickets and when asked what he would rate higher — a series triumph in England or a victory in the WTC final — Tom Latham said both.

“Both sounds pretty good. From our point of view, it was about coming here and focusing on these first two Test matches against England and trying to continue doing what we’ve been doing over a couple of years now.

“Now that we’ve ticked them off, it’s important that our focus shifts to India in a couple of days. It’s a fantastic achievement from the group. I think it’s important that we celebrate with each other. It hasn’t been done since ’99. It’s certainly an achievement that’s worth celebrating.”

“For us to come here as a group, it was about trying to play our brand of cricket and I thought we did that really well over the four days and got our rewards at the end.”

New Zealand’s first Test series win in England in 22 years moved them back to the top of the ICC rankings ahead of India. This was England’s first home Test series defeat since 2014.

Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
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Ravichandran Ashwin Explains Why He Is Successful Against The Left Handers

Ravichandran Ashwin has bagged more than 200 wickets of left-handers in Test cricket and he has explained why he is so successful against the southpaws.

The senior India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin loves bowling to the left-handers. He is known to trouble the southpaws with challenging lines and lengths and uses his variations to great effect.

Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Ravichandran Ashwin Thinks His Success Against Left-Handers Is Due To Challenging Both Sides Of Batsman’s Edge

In an interview with Sportstar, he revealed that he has enjoyed great success against them as he challenges both sides of the bat. In the history of Test cricket, he is the only bowler to dismiss left-handers more than 200 times. In the upcoming ICC World Test Championship (WTC) final against Kane Williamson’s New Zealand, he will be up against the likes of in-form batsmen Tom Latham, Devon Conway, and Henry Nicholls.

“I would like to think that it is because I challenge both sides of the edge. I get a batsman out through the inside edge and the outside and get the slip, short leg, and silly point in the play. I think that is one of the reasons the left-handers find it difficult. Also, I change the angle; I go over the wicket and to the extremes for around the stumps also. So challenging both sides of the bat gives me the edge,” explained Ravichandran Ashwin.

Devon Conway celebrates his century on debut PA Images via Getty Images
Devon Conway celebrates his century on debut PA Images via Getty Images

The duo of Henry Nicholls and Devon Conway are in terrific form of late. Henry Nicholls who has a Test career average of 43.4 has averaged 47.3 in 2020 and 65.5 in 2021 amassing more than 500 runs combined in the last two years. Devon Conway, who cemented his place in the side with 200 on debut in the series opener at Lord’s, produced another valuable inning of 80 in the 2nd Test against England.

Ravichandran Ashwin: New Zealand Is A Fantastic Team Having Quality Cricketers

Responding to whether the Kiwis will enjoy an advantage of Virat Kohli-led India because of their two-match Test series against England prior to the finale, Ravichandran Ashwin added that the Black Caps are a fantastic team.

“We have played well to get to the World Test Championship final, and we are deservedly there. They are a fantastic team and have a lot of exciting cricketers. The fact that they would have played a couple of Test matches before the final will be good preparation for them. So we have to adapt; use our experience, and be ready,” said Ravichandran Ashwin.

Tim Southee
Tim Southee

Virat Kohli-led India’s batsmen haven’t quite proved themselves yet against the swinging ball and their techniques were exposed on the New Zealand tour in 2020.

Meanwhile, the Kiwi pace attack of Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Kyle Jamieson, and Neil Wagner has time and again displayed its ability to extract any purchase from the pitch and would be raring to do the same at Southampton. The inaugural WTC final will take place at the Rose Bowl in Southampton, beginning on June 18.

Kane Williamson (elbow), BJ Watling (back), and Mitchel Santner (finger) were ruled out before the toss in the 2nd Test through injury and were replaced by Will Young, Tom Blundell, and Ajaz Patel. Trent Boult and Matt Henry shared the new ball in place of Tim Southee and Kyle Jamieson, while Daryl Mitchell replaced Colin de Grandhomme at number seven as New Zealand made as many as 6 changes from the 1st Test.

A devastating opening spell from Matt Henry backed up by Neil Wagner and later Ajaz Patel snuffed out England’s hopes on the third day of the ongoing second Test at Edgbaston. England was left reeling at 3 for 30 as Matt Henry tore through their top order on either side of tea and by the close, they were nine down and just 37 runs ahead.
England’s Ollie Robinson Photograph: Andrew Couldridge/Action Images/Reuters
England’s Ollie Robinson Photograph: Andrew Couldridge/Action Images/Reuters
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Ollie Robinson Decides To Take A Sabbatical From Cricket After His Suspension

Ollie Robinson has decided to take a short break from cricket. England pacer Ollie Robinson, who was suspended from international cricket recently for his racist tweets, has decided to take a sabbatical from cricket.

Ollie Robinson, England pacer issued an apology for the posts he sent in 2012 and 2013 when he was in his late teens, which were unearthed and shared online on the day he made his Test debut against the Black Caps.

Ollie Robinson has apologized for offensive tweets posted as a teenager PA Images via Getty Images
Ollie Robinson has apologized for offensive tweets posted as a teenager PA Images via Getty Images

Ollie Robinson Missed 2nd Test Against New Zealand For Suspension

The 27-year-old missed England’s second Test against New Zealand after being suspended from all international cricket pending the outcome of a disciplinary investigation into historical racist and sexist tweets. Ollie Robinson issued an apology for the posts he sent in 2012 and 2013 when he was in his late teens, which were unearthed and shared online on the day he made his Test debut against the Black Caps earlier this week.

A statement from the player’s county, Sussex, announced: “After a difficult week, Ollie has decided to take a short break from the game to spend time with his young family.”

Confirming Robinson would not be part of the Sussex squad for the team’s opening two Vitality Blast fixtures against Gloucestershire and Hampshire, the statement continued: “Player and staff welfare – including mental health and wellbeing – is a priority for the club and, as such, Sussex Cricket fully supports Ollie in his decision.”

Olly Stone’s last appearance for England was his Test debut, against Ireland at Lord’s in 2019.
Olly Stone’s last appearance for England was his Test debut, against Ireland at Lord’s in 2019. Photograph: Shutterstock

“When he is ready to return, Ollie will be welcomed back to the club, where discussions with the remainder of the squad over the last week have made clear that he retains the support of all his Sussex teammates. We remain in close contact with Ollie from a welfare perspective and will issue further updates on his availability at the relevant times.”

Sussex quick Ollie Robinson made an impressive on-field England debut in the drawn first Test at Lord’s concluded Sunday. But his efforts with bat and ball were overshadowed by the re-emergence of racist and sexist social media messages the 27-year-old had posted as a teenager in 2012 and 2013. Olly Stone replaced Ollie Robinson in England’s XI for the second Test that is currently underway at the Edgbaston in Birmingham.

Ollie Robinson Picked 7 Wickets In The 1st Test While Rory Burns Who Scored 132 In The 1st Innings Of The 1st Test Scores 81 In The 2nd Test’s 1st Innings

The pacer Ollie Robinson led England’s attack with 4-75 in the first innings at Lord’s and followed up with 3-26 in the second while in between making a useful 42 with the bat as England fought hard to earn a draw in the 1st Lord’s Test against New Zealand.

Rory Burns Getty Images
Rory Burns Getty Images
In the 2nd ongoing Test, England managed 258/7 at stumps at the end of 1st day’s play. Rory Burns, who scored 132 in the 1st Test, scored 81 as Zak Crawley and Joe Root failed with the bat. Dan Lawrence was unbeaten on 67 with Mark Wood giving him company on 16.
New Zealand showed their impressive strength in depth in making six changes to the side which drew at Lord’s and three of the bowlers who came in – Trent Boult, Matt Henry, and Ajaz Patel – claiming two wickets apiece so far.

England Playing XI: Rory Burns, Dom Sibley, Zak Crawley, Joe Root (captain), Ollie Pope, Dan Lawrence, James Bracey, Mark Wood, Olly Stone, Stuart Broad, Jimmy Anderson

New Zealand Playing XI: Tom Latham (captain), Devon Conway, Will Young, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, Tom Blundell, Daryl Mitchell, Matt Henry, Neil Wagner, Ajaz Patel, Trent Boult

Ajaz Patel was named the Man of the Man against Pakistan (Photo Credit: ICC/Twitter)
Ajaz Patel was named the Man of the Man against Pakistan (Photo Credit: ICC/Twitter)
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Ajaz Patel Is Getting Goosebumps While Thinking About Playing Against India In WTC Final

Ajaz Patel, the Indian-born New Zealand spinner, is getting goosebumps thinking about playing against his birth country in the marquee World Test Championship Final (WTC) at Southampton. Ajaz Patel believes he has gone ‘full circle’ and is set to create myriad stories and memories for the future.

Ajaz Patel was born and brought up in Mumbai. His parents moved to New Zealand when he was eight in search of better financial opportunities and have lived there ever since.

Ajaz Patel
Ajaz Patel. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Ajaz Patel Getting Goosebumps Thinking About Playing Against India

Ajaz Patel started as a medium-pacer in New Zealand but soon shifted to left-arm spin, only to become one of the best in the craft in his country. The 32-year-old recalled the journey on Sunday and said he hopes to cherish this amazing phase in the future.

“Yeah, I just got goosebumps thinking about it, to be honest. From where I started my journey in terms of immigrating to New Zealand to then be in a position where you are in England, the home of cricket, playing against India one of the best nations when it comes to cricket and also your birth country while representing New Zealand which I now call home. It’s kind of like going full circle,” Ajaz Patel told New Zealand Cricket.

“But you know, that’s my cricketing journey and I guess it would be quite rewarding to play against India out there and hope I could sit back and look back at something like that in the future and go ‘that was an amazing time in my career’. I’m sure [it’s] something any cricketer would cherish for as long as they live and it’ll be a hell of a story to tell later on,” he added.

Ish Sodhi and Mitchell Santner
Ish Sodhi and Mitchell Santner ©AFP

Ajaz Patel Spent Time In Surrey Cricket Club In England And Enjoyed

Ajaz Patel also talked about his experience playing county cricket in England, saying that he has always enjoyed and learned a lot from his time in the country.

“It was a great experience. I learned a lot from it and took a lot back. It’s kind of nice to be back here I have always enjoyed my time in England. I have played a couple of seasons of club cricket down here, County Cricket Club in Surrey. So, I have spent a bit of time here and I do enjoy playing cricket in England,” asserted Ajaz Patel.

The WTC Final between New Zealand and Virat Kohli’s India will commence on June 18. Kane Williamson’s New Zealand and England will lock horns in a 2-Test series before it, starting on June 2.

New Zealand a the only team that got the better of India in the Test series during the WTC group stage. India lost the series 0-2 to the Blackcaps in early 2020.  New Zealand has registered some crucial wins over India in the recent past including the iconic victory in the 2019 World Cup Semifinal. In the WTC final, Virat Kohli-led India will look to take revenge for the 2019 WC exit from the Blackcaps.

Apart from the pacer Kyle Jamieson, the left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel and batsman Devon Conway had also earned their maiden New Zealand central contracts in 2020/21. Ajaz Patel made his international debut in 2018 and has played eight Tests and two T20Is where he has taken 22 and 1 wickets respectively.

New Zealand Test cricket team (Image Credit: Twitter)
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Colin de Grandhomme Ruled Out From Test Series Against West Indies, Ajaz Patel Will Miss First Test

Due to the injury problems, New Zealand all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme has been ruled out from the forthcoming home Test series against West Indies, while left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel will also miss the first match of this Test series. The New Zealand Cricket (NZC) has also announced their replacements on Wednesday (25th November).

New Zealand are ready to begin their new home international summer on Friday (27th November) with the three-match T20I series against West Indies. Then they will play the two-match Test series between 3rd December and 15th December. This Test series is the part of the inaugural ICC World Test Championship.

Daryl Mitchell replaces Colin de Grandhomme; Mitchell Santner has been added in the first Test squad as the replacement of Ajaz Patel

Colin de Grandhomme will completely miss the upcoming home Test series due to bone bruising in his right foot. The 29-year-old all-rounder Daryl Mitchell has been named as the replacement of Grandhomme for the Test series.

Grandhomme, New Zealand, replacement
Colin de Grandhomme (Image Credit: Twitter)

Meanwhile, Ajaz Patel is recovering from the left calf tear issue, but he is going to miss the opening match of the forthcoming Test series against West Indies. The 28-year-old bowling all-rounder Mitchell Santner will cover this spot for the first Test of this upcoming home series. Both these replacement players have already been named in the T20I squad that will face West Indies before the beginning of the Test series.

Ajaz Patel, New Zealand, replacement
Ajaz Patel (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Confirming this news, the national team’s Head Coach Gary Stead said, “Mitch and Daryl will be available for the final T20 game before linking up with the Test squad on Tuesday where we will monitor them closely to ensure they’re fit and fresh ahead of the first Test.”

Team management is impressed with Daryl Mitchell and Mitchell Santner

Daryl Mitchell has played only one Test as he made his Test debut during the Hamilton Test against England in November 2019. In that Test match, the right-handed batsman scored 73 runs in an innings, but the right-arm medium pacer failed to pick up his first Test wicket.

New Zealand, replacement
Daryl Mitchell (Image Credit: Twitter)

On the other hand, Mitchell Santner has already played 22 Tests, where the left-arm spinner has taken 39 wickets, and the left-handed batsman has scored 741 runs, including one century and two half-centuries. In November 2019, during the Mount Maunganui Test against England, Santner scored his maiden Test century. His last Test was during the 2019 Melbourne Test against the hosts Australia, which started on last Boxing Day.

Mitchell Santner, New Zealand, replacement
Mitchell Santner (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Talking more about the replacements, Stead added, “They both proved last summer in the Tests against England what they can do in our conditions with Mitch scoring a century and claiming three wickets at Bay Oval, while Daryl produced a polished half-century on debut at Seddon Park.”

In the forthcoming T20I series against West Indies, Tim Southee will lead the hosts New Zealand in the first two T20I matches but will miss the third and final game of this series. In the absence of Southee, Mitchell Santner will take the leadership charge of the T20I squad for the last match of this upcoming series.

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Three Fresh New Zealand Players Earn Central Contract For 2020/21 Season

On Friday (15th May), the New Zealand Cricket (NZC) has announced the central contract for the 2020/21 season. In this 20-player list, three players have been added in the agreement for the first time, including the 25-year-old tall pacer Kyle Jamieson, who made impressive ODI and Test debuts against India in last February.

Apart from the pacer Jamieson, the 31-year-old left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel and 28-year-old uncapped Devon Conway have also earned their maiden central contracts. Patel made his international debut in 2018 and has played eight Tests and two T20Is where he has taken 22 and only wickets respectively.

During India’s last tour of New Zealand, Kyle Jamieson made dream debuts in international cricket. First, he made ODI debut during Auckland ODI where he provided the match-winning all-round performances (25* & 2/42) and won the Player of the Match award.

New Zealand, Kyle Jamieson, Central Contract
Kyle Jamieson (Image Credit: Google)

Later, he also made Test debut during the Wellington Test against India. Once again, in his second Test, Jamieson produced crucial all-round performances that helped his team to won that match comfortably, and he also won the Player of the Match award.

New Zealand, Kyle Jamieson, Central Contract
Kyle Jamieson (Photo Credit: AFP)

After playing two Tests and two ODIs, the right-arm pacer Jamieson has taken nine and three wickets respectively. Also, the right-handed lower-order batsman has scored 93 Test runs, and 25 ODI runs.

In the media release, the Selection manager Gavin Larsen said, “It’s really exciting to offer contracts to Kyle, Ajaz and Devon who have all impressed over the past 12 months.”

“Kyle’s performances against the might of India were nothing short of outstanding and at 25 years of age he’s certainly got a big future.

“We see Ajaz as the incumbent test spinner at present and he’ll be looking to stamp his mark on that spot after some superb efforts with the ball in the sub-continent.

“Devon’s form with the bat across all three formats these past two seasons made him impossible to ignore and he’s going to be a great option to add to the batting mix.”

Three New Zealand players have been removed from the previous central contract

New Zealand, Kyle Jamieson, Central Contract
New Zealand cricketers (Image Credit: Twitter)

On the other hand, Colin Munro and Jeet Raval have missed out the renewal of this central contract. Meanwhile, the 33-year-old Todd Astle, who retired from the first-class cricket in last January, also hasn’t been offered for the renewal of this central contract.

New Zealand players offered central contracts for 2020/21 season: Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Devon Conway, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, James Neesham, Ajaz Patel, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling, Kane Williamson, Will Young.

Ajaz Patel, Will Somerville, Sri Lanka
Photo Credit: Getty Images.
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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:

Mitchell Santner
Santner back into the whites. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

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:

ICC World Cup 2019, Gary Stead | New Zealand Cricket Team |
Photo Credit: Getty Images

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.