New Zealand has announced its 12 member squad for the two-match Test series against England with the omission of Mitchell Santner being the biggest highlight of it.
The Kiwi all-rounder, Santner has been in fine form and from the past few months has become an essential cog in New Zealand’s team courtesy of his impactful performances. But he got himself injured during the recent ODI series against England, and scans have shown a bone defect in his knee.
This means, Santner will have to undergo a surgery on his right knee and this will keep him out of action for anywhere between six to nine weeks. Thus, Santner is sure to miss out on the England Test series and IPL.
Todd Astle, a leg break bowler has been roped in to replace Santner. He has played only two Tests so far with the Test against Pakistan in 2016 being his last.
New Zealand has also added BJ Watling in the squad as their wicket-keeper. Watling faced hip injury in December 2017 but he has recovered completely and is now back in the team as the regular wicket-keeper.
Apart from Santner’s omission and Watling’s return, there aren’t any surprises in New Zealand’s team. Ross Taylor who was affected by leg injury finds his name in the squad as well as he is expected to recover before the start of the Test series.
The bowling attack is dominated by pace with Tim Southee, Trent Boult, and Neil Wagner being the de facto pace bowlers. The lone spinning option is in the form of Todd Astle while Matt Henry’s presence strengthens the pace department.
The batting revolves around Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor. Tom Latham has been impressive at the top of the order and he will open the innings with Jeet Raval. Henry Nicholls and Colin de Grandhomme will fill the remaining spots in the middle order.
The first Test between England and New Zealand will begin on March 22 at Eden Park Auckland.
New Zealand’s complete squad- Kane Williamson (C), Ross Taylor, Jeet Raval, Tom Latham, Colin de Grandhomme, BJ Watling, Henry Nicholls, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Neil Wagner, Todd Astle and Matt Henry.