New Zealand have named a 20-player squad for their tour of England, with three uncapped stars in the group.
All-rounder Rachin Ravindra, swing bowler Jacob Duffy and batter Devon Conway have all been named in the squad for the two-Test series, which commences on 2 June at Lord's.
It is the first time Ravindra or Duffy have been included in a Test squad, while this is Conway’s first full squad inclusion after being called up in December as cover for expectant father Kane Williamson.
In a boost for the Black Caps, all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme and left-arm finger-spinner Ajaz Patel are both back from injury. Doug Bracewell also returns to the squad after last playing a Test match in 2016.
De Grandhomme (ankle), Bracewell (hip) and Ross Taylor (hamstring) will all need to prove their fitness before boarding the flight to England.
NZ Squad: Kane Williamson (c), Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Devon Conway, Colin de Grandhomme, Jacob Duffy, Matt Henry, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Henry Nicholls, Ajaz Patel, Rachin Ravindra, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling (wk), Will Young
Maiden @BLACKCAPS Test squad call-ups for Devon Conway, Rachin Ravindra and Jacob Duffy 👏— ICC (@ICC) April 7, 2021
New Zealand have named their 20-player squad for the upcoming two-Test tour of England before the #WTC21 Final. pic.twitter.com/AsB43b0a10
Bracewell's selection comes after he averaged 26.20 with the ball and 42.66 with the bat in the recent Plunket Shield season.
“Doug’s a match-winner and we’re confident he’ll enjoy bowling on English pitches in June,” coach Gary Stead said.
“Colin’s injury is progressing well and we’re hopeful he will begin running again shortly. We’ll monitor him closely over the next few weeks to ensure he’s on target with where he needs to be in order to be fit to tour.
“It’s been pleasing to see Ajaz back playing consistently since missing the early part of the season and he’s proven in the past what he can do if the ball is turning.”
The remainder of the squad is made up of familiar names, with 14 of the 20 featuring in the Black Caps’ home summer of Test cricket.
The squad will be trimmed down to 15 players for the World Test Championship Final at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton, starting 18 June.
New Zealand fans will be well acquainted with Conway, who has shone for the Black Caps in limited-overs cricket since making his debut last summer.
The talented left-hander has averaged 59.12 across 14 T20Is and 75 across his three ODIs so far. He was the Player of the Series in New Zealand’s recent 3-0 ODI whitewash of Bangladesh, notably scoring his maiden international century in the final match.
With a first-class average of 47.21, he looks well equipped to tackle Test cricket.
If he is selected to play, 21-year-old Ravindra will be the youngest Black Caps Test player since a 20-year-old Ish Sodhi debuted in 2013.
A spin-bowling all-rounder, Ravindra already has three first-class centuries to his name, including one for New Zealand A.
Duffy, who took 4/33 on his T20I debut in December, has been knocking on the door for selection for the past two summers. He took 24 wickets at 22.45 in 2019/20 and 28 at 20.14 in 2020/21 in first-class cricket.
“We’re absolutely delighted for Rachin and Jacob,” Stead said.
“I’ve seen first-hand how hard these guys have worked in our NZC winter training squads and with New Zealand A, and so for them to earn their maiden Test call-ups for such a special tour will be really satisfying.
“Rachin’s been earmarked as a star of the future since his Under-19 days and we’ve been really encouraged by the advancement in his game this season, with both bat and ball. He’s obviously an opening option, but also has the ability to bat in the middle order which combined with his left-arm finger spin make him a great asset to our squad.
“Jacob’s been a consistent performer on the domestic circuit and his ability to swing the ball made him a particularly compelling option with a Dukes ball in English conditions.
“Test cricket really is the pinnacle of the game and I know both guys are extremely excited at the prospect of joining the team in England.”
Lockie Ferguson was not considered for the Test squad as he continues his return from a partial-stress fracture in his back.
The squad will convene for two training camps in early May before departing for England in two groups on 16 and 17 May.
Players involved in the IPL will be managed on a case by case basis.
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