New Zealand Cricket
Auckland, December 10, 2018
Central Stags spinner Ajaz Patel is in line to play his first match for the Blackcaps on home-soil after being included in the squad to face Sri Lanka in two Tests, starting at the Basin Reserve on Saturday, December 15, 2018.
Patel is the specialist spinner in the 13 player squad, with Will Somerville and Ish Sodhi released to play in the fourth round of the Plunket Shield along with Wellington Firebirds wicket-keeper Tom Blundell, who also drops out from the victorious UAE touring party.
Stags batsman Will Young has earned his maiden call-up to the Blackcaps as the batting cover, following strong form on the domestic scene and for New Zealand A.
Selector Gavin Larsen said that the squad were looking forward to starting the home summer in Wellington.
“There’s a real swell of support for the Test team following their efforts in the UAE, so, we are hoping to transition that momentum into a big home summer,” he said.
Will Somerville (Picture: Photosport published by RNZ)
“Ajaz certainly grabbed his opportunity on the UAE tour and he’s a proven performer in New Zealand conditions. Will Somerville was an obvious stand-out on debut in the Abu Dhabi decider and it’s great to know we’ve got quality spin bowlers who can create competition for places,” he said.
Mr Larsen said that it is an an exciting time for Will Young who has been pushing for higher honours for a while now. He scored hundreds against Pakistan A and India A in recent months and fully deserves his call-up.
“The first international of the home summer is always an exciting time and the revamped Basin Reserve should be a fitting setting to launch the Sri Lankan tour,” Mr Larsen said.
Radio New Zealand reports:
Despite playing a leading hand in the helping New Zealand to their first away series win over Pakistan in nearly 50 years, off spinner Will Somerville has been dropped for the two test series against Sri Lanka.
The 34-year-old Somerville made his test debut in the third and deciding test against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi last week and took seven wickets to help the Black Caps to 123 run test victory and a 2-1 series win.
Ajaz in form
Ajaz Patel is all smiles beside New Zealand captain Kane Williamson
However Ajaz Patel, who also made his test debut in the Pakistan series, is only spinner who has been named in the squad for the two tests against Sri Lanka.
“Ajaz certainly grabbed his opportunity on the UAE tour and he’s a proven performer in New Zealand conditions,” Mr Larsen said.
Patel has been the leading wicket in the New Zealand domestic four-day competition for the past three seasons while Somerville who currently plays for Auckland has little first class experience in New Zealand conditions having played in Australia for several years.
Uncapped batsman Will Young has also been added to the squad as batting cover after strong performances in domestic cricket and for the New Zealand ‘A’ side.
The Blacks Caps Test Squad:
Kane Williamson (Captain), Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Ajaz Patel, Jeet Raval, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor; Neil Wagner, BJ Watling, Will Young
(Pictures by Photosport published by RNZ)