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Jimmy Neesham recalled for India tour; Jeet Raval dropped

Jimmy Neesham
New Zealand player James Neesham. (Photo by SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Following the loss in the Test series in South Africa, New Zealand has dipped back into their talent pool and fished out all-rounder Jimmy Neesham for the upcoming tour of India. Neesham, who last played for New Zealand in a Test match last November against Australia at Brisbane has seemingly recovered from his injury to make a comeback to the Test side. 27-year old Jeet Raval has been dropped to make way for Neesham.

New Zealand selector Gavin Larsen said that Jimmy Neesham and his ability to be an all-rounder in the subcontinent and the difficult conditions makes him an invaluable asset to the New Zealand side. “Jimmy has put in a lot of work to make sure he is physically ready for a return to Test cricket,” Larsen said. “Having two pace-bowling all-rounders in Jimmy and Doug Bracewell helps the balance of the squad, particularly if playing on pitches which demand a spin-heavy bowling attack.

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Larsen also expressed disappointment over the axing of Raval. “Jeet Raval misses out on this tour, but we were really pleased with what we saw of him in Africa. He did everything asked of him and we’ll continue to monitor him closely.”

Larsen also added that Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi were supremely important to the team’s cause. “Mitch Santner and Ish Sodhi will have benefitted from getting a taste of Indian conditions earlier this year at the ICC World Twenty20 and both showed excellent form at that tournament. It’s another big challenge for them early in their young careers, as well as for Mark Craig, who has made some changes in the past six months and has shown growth in his game.

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The Indians are currently ranked second in the official ICC Test rankings. However, a 2-0 win in the 4-match series could very well see the Indians leapfrog Pakistan and make it to the top of the rankings. “India’s the No.2 ranked side in the world, and their record at home is formidable. We’re yet to win a Test series over there and that’s motivating for everyone. We’ve got three Tests to create a special piece of history.”

Squad: Kane Williamson (capt), Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Mark Craig, Martin Guptill, Tom Latham, Jimmy Neesham, Henry Nicholls, Luke Ronchi, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling.

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