New Zealand Cricket (NZC) has announced a 13-member squad for the upcoming two-match Test series against Pakistan. The first Test is a Boxing Day contest, which shall begin from December 26 at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui. Similarly, the second and final Test will take place at Hagley Oval in Christchurch on January 3.
Since the Test series against Pakistan is a part of World Test Championship (WTC), New Zealand will look to win both the matches in order to strengthen their position to qualify for the finals of WTC in Lord’s.
Kane Williamson, who missed out the second Test against West Indies for the birth of his first child, has returned to the red-ball squad and will lead the team. Spinner Mitchell Santner has been picked in the line-up over left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel.
We’ve got a very settled and experienced group of players: Gary Stead
Rookie batsman Devon Conway has been dropped from the squad, while Will Young has retained his spot. Daryl Mitchell will continue yo play as the all-rounder. Daryl has come in the outfit as the replacement of Colin de Grandhomme, who was ruled out of the Pakistan series due to a stress reaction to his right ankle.
New Zealand head coach Gary Stead opined that the current Black Caps squad is quite settled and has got plenty of experienced players.
“There’s lots of interest – which is great for Test cricket in this country. We’ve got a very settled and experienced group of players who have done the job in our conditions for a long time – so I know they’ll just be focusing on the task at hand rather than worrying about too much down the line,” said Stead as quoted by NDTV.
The Kiwi Test squad will assemble in Mount Maunganui on Wednesday.
New Zealand squad:
Kane Williamson (c), BJ Watling (wk), Ross Taylor, Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, Will Young, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner.