New Zealand vs West Indies 2017: Tom Blundell replaces BJ Watling; Lockie Ferguson to cover-up for Tim Southee
New Zealand have announced Tom Blundell as the replacement for wicketkeeper BJ Watling for the test series against touring West Indies side. Moreover, pacer Lockie Ferguson has been called in to cover-up for for Tim Southee who is awaiting his child's birth.
The Kiwis had announced their 12-man squad for the test-series on 15 November. However, it was made clear then itself that Watling will be undergoing fitness evaluation tests before being deemed fit to play.
"Tom's worked hard on his game and we've seen his wicketkeeping, in particular, really develop over the past 12 months. BJ is still working his way back to full fitness and hopefully he gets some time with the gloves for Northern Districts soon," said selector Gavin Larsen.
"With Tim (Southee) awaiting the birth of his child, his availability is still uncertain at this point, so Lockie helps keep our bases covered. Lockie's been in good form domestically and showed good signs for New Zealand A as well. His extra pace brings a slightly different dimension to the attack," selector Larsen said.
Blundell has played just the one T20I for New Zealand and is set to make his test debut. On the other hand, Ferguson has been a part of seven ODIs and a T20I but his inclusion in the XI depends on Southee's availability. Recently the 26-year-old pacer bagged five wickets for New Zealand A against West Indies in their ongoing tour match.
The first match of the two-test series will start on 1st December at the Basin Reserve in Wellington. The second test is scheduled for 9th December at Seddon Park in Hamilton. The West Indies side will also play three ODIs and as many T20Is on the tour.
New Zealand squad: Kane Williamson (C), Jeet Raval, Tom Latham, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, Tom Blundell (WK), Colin de Grandhomme, Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Matt Henry, Neil Wagner, Lockie Ferguson
West Indies squad: Jason Holder (C), Kraigg Brathwaite (VC), Sunil Ambris, Devendra Bishoo, Jermaine Blackwood, Roston Chase, Miguel Cummins, Shane Dowrich, Shannon Gabriel, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Kieran Powell, Raymon Reifer, Kemar Roach