New Zealand announce 13-man squad for Pakistan Tests
The first of the two-match Test series will be played from December 26.
Updated - Dec 22, 2020 12:20 pm
New Zealand Cricket (NZC) has announced a 13-man squad for the upcoming two-match Test series against Pakistan. This is a crucial Test series for the Kiwis in terms of pushing themselves up to the second position in the World Test Championship. If they manage to win both the Test matches and India continue to struggle down under, then there is a realistic chance for New Zealand to play the final at Lord’s next year.
Coming back to the Test squad, the Kiwis have preferred Mitchell Santner in the line-up ahead of the left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel. Ajaz had missed the West Indies series as well. He was rehabilitating from his calf injury then and now despite regaining full fitness, the spinner has been overlooked due to lack of game time.
“It’s really unfortunate for Ajaz, who has overcome his calf-injury, but the all-round ability of Mitchell Santner is our preferred option for this series. The fact Ajaz hasn’t been able to have any game-time in the lead-up was also a concern for the selectors,” New Zealand head coach Gary Stead said according to Cricbuzz.
Kane Williamson returns after missing 2nd Test vs WI
The Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson also returns and takes over the captaincy duties from Tom Latham. He had taken a paternity leave to be with his wife and the couple was blessed with a baby girl last week. Devon Conway has made way for him from the squad while Will Young who batted at three in the second Test against West Indies has been retained as batting cover.
New Zealand continue to miss their ace all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme who has suffered from a stress-reaction to his right ankle. In hi absence, Daryl Mitchell has retained his place. The first of the two-match series will be a Boxing Day Test to be played at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui from December 26. After the series opener, the two teams will travel to Christchurch for the second and final Test of the tour from January 3, 2021.
New Zealand Squad: Kane Williamson (c), Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling (wk), Will Young