New Zealand have announced their Test squad for the upcoming home series against Sri Lanka, starting from December 10. Out-of-form opening batsman Martin Guptill, as well as spinner Mark Craig have been retained in the squad, despite their ordinary performances during the recently concluded Australian tour.
New Zealand, invigorated after the World-Cup at home, have found it reasonably tough in the Test arena though. They lost to Australia in the recent Trans-Tasman series 2-0, and had drawn with England 1-1 before that.
From the squad of 16 that toured Australia, fast bowlers Matt Henry and Mitchell McClenaghan, wicket-keeper Luke Ronchi, and back-up opener Hamish Ruherford have been left out of the squad, thus reducing its strength to 12. Croey Anderson and James Neesham, both all-rounders, were not available for selection due to injuries.
Coach Mark Hesson said, “Mark and Martin didn't perform to the level they would have liked over in Australia, but both have shown in the past what they're capable of and we're confident they'll make valuable contributions in the upcoming series.”
All-rounder Mitchell Santner who made his debut against Australia in the historic day-night Test at the Adelaide Oval has also been retained along with left-arm seem bowler Neil Wagner.
Hesson was all praises about the newest debutant in the squad, Santner, saying, “His ability to bat in the top six and bowl good overs gives us options and assists the team balance. We're looking forward to watching Mitchell's continued development.
Despite not playing in Australia, Wagner’s place in the squad wasn’t a surprise according to Hesson. “Neil impressed in Australia and not only showed that he'll run in hard all day, but was swinging the ball again.”
Sri Lanka begin their tour on December 3, with a three-day warm-up game against New Zealand Board President’s XI. The visitors would be brimming with confidence after beating the West Indies 2-0 at home, after losing 1-2 to India back in August. Both sides have reasonably young squads and they would try to take the early advantage come December 10.
Here is the New Zealand Test squad for the series as well as the Board President’s XI squad.
New Zealand Test squad: Brendon McCullum (capt), Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Mark Craig, Martin Guptill, Tom Latham, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling, Kane Williamson.
Board President XI squad: Ryan McCone (capt), James Baker, Joe Carter, Joel Harden, Shawn Hicks, Tim Johnston, Ken McClure, Matt McEwan, Glenn Phillips, Bharat Popli, Ben Smith, Blair Tickner, Neil Wagner.Published 01 Dec 2015, 12:02 IST