Ahead of their two-match Test series against Sri Lanka, New Zealand have announced their 15-man squad for the tour, having picked four spinners in anticipation of the spin-friendly pitches they will encounter.
When the Kiwis clinched a 2-1 series win against Pakistan in the UAE last year, both William Somerville and Ajaz Patel had played key roles, with the latter taking 13 wickets in the series and the former accounting for seven wickets in the second Test. Both have been picked in the squad for the Sri Lanka tour.
Todd Astle, who made his Test debut in Sri Lanka in 2012 has also been included in the squad, as has mainstay Mitchell Santner, who will be playing a Test for the first time since December 2017.
“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 New Zealand coach Gary Stead after the squad was announced.
“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.”
In the pace department, New Zealand have gone with Trent Boult, Tim Southee and Neil Wagner, while Colin de Grandhomme has been picked as the seam bowling all-rounder. However, ODI star Lockie Ferguson continues his wait for a Test call-up, even on the back of a highly successful World Cup campaign in which he picked up 21 wickets.
The first Test of the series will be played in Galle, starting on August 14, while the second match will take place at Colombo PSS, commencing on August 22.
New Zealand Squad: Kane Williamson (c), Todd Astle, Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Ajaz Patel, Jeet Raval, Will Somerville, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling