New Zealand have included four spin bowlers in their 15-man squad for the upcoming two-match Test series against Sri Lanka.
Blackcaps coach Gary Stead announced the squad at Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui on Monday as the new World Test Championship was officially launched, with New Zealand’s first assignment starting in Galle, Sri Lanka on August 14.
Mitchell Santner, who was apart of the Blackcaps’ World Cup squad, will lead the four-pronged spin lineup, which also includes Todd Astle, Ajaz Patel, and off-spinner Will Somerville – who last played for New Zealand eight months ago in the UAE.
“Playing three spinners is an option in Sri Lankan conditions, and we believe this group provides the best variations and skill mix on offer,” said Stead.
“England were playing three spinners against Sri Lanka on their successful visit there last year, and the slow bowlers also dominated the previous series against South Africa.”
The concentration of spin bowling reserves leaves Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner and Colin de Grandhomme as the seam bowling options, meaning Matt Henry and Lockie Ferguson misses out.
Kane Williamson will lead the side with fellow regulars Ross Taylor, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Jeet Raval and BJ Watling also taking part.
New Zealand’s Test squad:
Kane Williamson (c), Tom Latham, Jeet Raval, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling, Tom Blundell, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Todd Astle, Will Somerville, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult, Ajaz Patel.
August 8-10: Warmup match v Sri Lanka A
Aug 14-18: First test at Galle
Aug 22-26: Second test at Colombo (P Saravanamuttu Stadium)