New Zealand have confirmed their final squad for the upcoming World Test Championship (WTC) final against India. Five players have been dropped from the squad that faced England, with the Kiwis going ahead with a 15-man contingent.
Mitchell Santner is the biggest name to miss out on in the final squad. The left-arm spinner joins Doug Bracewell, Jacob Duffy, Daryl Mitchell and Rachin Ravindra as they drop out of the original 20-player touring squad for the England Test series.
The Kiwis announced their squad on Tuesday, with coach Gary Stead admitting that trimming down the roster was a tough decision. He said:
“It’s not easy to say goodbye to guys who have given so much to the group. Doug, Jacob and Rachin have been selfless in their attitude to helping the team and supporting those in the playing XI.”
Kane Williamson and BJ Watling return to the squad after missing the second Test against England due to injuries. Gary Stead also hinted that specialist spinner Ajaz Patel, who returned with match figures of 4/59 in the second Test, may play an important role in the final. Stead explained:
“We’ve gone with Ajaz as our specialist spinner after an impressive outing at Edgbaston and we believe he could be a factor at the Ageas Bowl.”
Complete New Zealand squad for WTC final
Full New Zealand squad: Tom Latham, Devon Conway, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, Will Young, BJ Watling, Tom Blundell, Colin de Grandhomme, Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Ajaz Patel, Trent Boult, Matt Henry
Despite trimming the squad, New Zealand still have a selection conundrum on their hands. The Kiwis are undecided on whether to go with an all-pace attack against India or include a specialist spinner in place of one of the quicks in Southampton.
New Zealand will take on India in the inaugural World Test Championship final from June 18. The marquee event will take place at the Rose Bowl in Southampton.