New Zealand included Ish Sodhi as their third spin bowling option in a 14-man squad for the first two one-day internationals of the five-match series against England.
Sodhi, the leg-spinner, last featured in an ODI in May 2017, against Ireland in Dublin. He had been named as a replacement for an injured Todd Astle when Kane Williamson’s men travelled to India in October last year, but didn’t play a game.
“Both Mitchell (Santner) and Todd have had injury concerns recently, so having Ish travel with us gives further options in the spin department,” said Gavin Larsen, the selector.
Sodhi had a strong run in the Trans-Tasman Twenty20 International Tri-Series that also featured Australia and England, finishing as the second-best spinner behind Ashton Agar, with five wickets in as many matches. He was the most economical bowler for the hosts in the final, picking up 1/21 even as Australia won by 19 runs in a rain-affected game, as well as in the high-scoring league game against the same side, where he had 1/35.
The selectors have kept faith in most of the squad that swept Pakistan 5-0 at home in January, with George Worker the only one sitting out.
“Having won the previous eight matches, we’ve been able to keep good consistency in selection with our ODI squad,” explained Larsen.
The first match of the series is on Sunday, 25 February, in Hamilton.
Squad: Kane Williamson (capt), Todd Astle, Trent Boult, Lockie Ferguson, Colin de Grandhomme, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham (wk), Colin Munro, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor.