New Zealand vs Bangladesh: Kiwis announce the 13-man squad for the Test series
After Somerville, even Ajaz Patel has been axed.
Updated - Feb 22, 2019 11:39 am
New Zealand have recalled spinner Todd Astle for the upcoming three-match Test series against Bangladesh. To make room for Astle, the Black Caps have dropped Ajaz Patel from their 13-man squad. This is the second series in a row New Zealand have dropped a spinner who played in the victorious series against Pakistan in UAE last year. During the last Test series, which was against Sri Lanka, New Zealand had dropped offspinner Will Somerville despite 7 for 127 on his debut in Abu Dhabi.
And now Patel has been shown the door. Just like Somerville, Patel had made his debut in that series too and had impressed on his debut. He had picked up a five-wicket haul in Abu Dhabi to help New Zealand take the lead in the series. However, his form faded after that. In the subsequent four innings, he managed to pick up just 6 wickets. His form continued against Sri Lanka too as he failed to pick a single wicket in the two-Test series despite bowling 43 overs.
New Zealand selector Gavin Larsen spoke on the frequent changes of spinners in the team before admitting that leaving out Ajaz was tough. He also welcomed Astle in the team.
“The spinning position has been the only real area we’ve changed and that’s been largely dependent on conditions and injuries,” selector Gavin Larsen said according to Cricbuzz. “We’re in a fortunate position having a number of high-quality spinners available, and it’s a tough call on Ajaz who was a star of the UAE tour.
“It’s great though to have Todd fit again and we’re keen to see what his wrist-spin can offer in New Zealand conditions, and he’ll also bolster the batting,” he added.
Astle made his Test debut in 2012 but has played just three Tests so far. It looked like he would get a long run in 2018 but injury dashed his hopes. Astle played his last Test during the first game against England at home last year before missing the second due to injury. He was in line for the series against Pakistan but suffered another injury setback.
Meanwhile, the selectors have retained uncapped Will Young in the team. However, Mitchell Santner, who recently recovered from a knee injury, was once again ignored. The series will start on February 28 in Hamilton.
New Zealand Test squad: Kane Williamson (capt), Todd Astle, Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Jeet Raval, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling, Will Young.