New Zealand has nominated for its Sri Lanka tour next month a spin-heavy test squad that also starts the ICC World Test Championship campaign.
The series of two games begins on 14th August and New Zealand has chosen four frontrunners: Mitchell Santner, who has been down for injury since his last test in December 2017, has returned to the side. He is accompanied by leg spinner Todd Astle, off-spinner Will Somerville and Ajaz Patel, the spinner on the left arm. Ish Sodhi, the leg spinner, and Matt Henry, the Paceman, failed in the 15-man squad.
So Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner and Colin de Grandhomme remain as options for the pace in the squad.
Patel and Somerville last played eight months ago in the United Arab Emirates against Pakistan for New Zealand. Somerville has not played a test since his debut in Abu Dhabi in this series, where he scored seven goals for a win in the series. Astle, who made his test debut in 2012, has only played four tests so far, and Patel, who debuted in November last year, has five test caps.
New Zealand coach Gary Stead said the squad had been selected as “horses for courses”. “Under Sri Lankan conditions, it’s an option to play three spinners, and we believe this group offers the best variations and the best skill mix,” he said.
“England played three spinners against Sri Lanka on its successful visit last year, and the Slow Bowlers also dominated the previous series against South Africa.”
Stead added that New Zealand is looking forward to the Test World Championship and the challenges that the new structure for Test Cricket brings with it. “It’s a good timing for us after the World Cup,” he said.
After the tests, New Zealand and Sri Lanka also meet in three Twenty20 Internationals.
New Zealand Squad
Kane Williamson (c), Tom Latham, Jeet Raval, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, B.J. Watling, Tom Blundell (wk), Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Todd Astle, Will Somerville, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult, Ajaz Patel