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Ronchi and Craig in line for New Zealand Test debut

The pair's selection is the highlight of the 15-strong squad named today to play three Tests in the West Indies

Ronchi and Craig in line for New Zealand Test debut - Cricket News
Luke Ronchi named in the New Zealand Test squad for the tour to the West Indies.
Wellington Firebirds wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi and Otago Volts off-spinner Mark Craig are the new caps named today in the New Zealand squad for the tour to the West Indies starting later next month.

The pair's selection is the highlight of the 15-strong squad named today to play three Tests in Jamaica, Trinidad and Guyana in June. Also named today is a New Zealand A squad to tour England in July and August.

The selectors have gone for two spinners, two all-rounders and only three pace bowlers in what will be spin-friendly conditions in the Caribbean.

New Zealand Head Coach Mike Hesson says Ronchi, a regular member of the limited overs teams but making his debut in the Test squad, has been named as the back-up keeper with Tom Latham included purely as a specialist batsman.
“Luke also provides us with middle order batting cover as he’s a good player of spin bowling.”

Hesson says that the 27-year-old Craig provides a nice balance with leg spinner Ish Sodhi.

"Mark has had a strong Plunket Shield taking 22 wickets and his right-arm off-spinners will be valuable against their left-handed heavy top order batting line-up. He’s been in our sights for some time and was also chosen for our winter training squad.”

Hesson confirmed that Daniel Vettori was not available for the tour saying he felt his bowling loads were not yet up to the intensity of Test cricket. Jeetan Patel was also unavailable for the tour but for personal reasons.

Hesson is expecting a far more formidable challenge from the West Indies team compared with the injury-hit side that toured here this summer.

"While we gained a convincing 2-0 Test series victory against the West Indies in December, they'll be a totally different proposition in their conditions and they’ll have the added motivation to perform well in the first match which will be Chris Gayle’s 100th Test.”

Jesse Ryder and Doug Bracewell were not considered for either squads as they are yet to satisfy the selectors that they have their off-field issues under control.

New Zealand Test squad: 

Brendon McCullum (c) - Otago Volts

Corey Anderson - Northern Knights

Trent Boult - Northern Knights

Mark Craig - Otago Volts

Peter Fulton - Canterbury Wizards

Tom Latham - Canterbury Wizards

James Neesham - Otago Volts

Luke Ronchi – Wellington Firebirds

Hamish Rutherford - Otago Volts

Ish Sodhi - Northern Knights

Tim Southee - Northern Knights

Ross Taylor - Central Stags

Neil Wagner - Otago Volts

BJ Watling - Northern Knights

Kane Williamson - Northern Knights


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