A knee injury has ruled leg-spinner Todd Astle out of the remainder of New Zealand’s ODI series against Pakistan, and the Test series to follow.
“The best course of action for Todd is to get home and get it looked at, with an eye to returning in the home summer," said selector Gavin Larsen. "He worked really hard over the winter and is in some of the best shape of his career, so for this to happen is a cruel blow.”
The 32-year-old will be replaced in the Test squad by the 34-year-old Will Somerville, an Auckland off-spinner. No replacement has been named in the ODI squad. The uncapped Somerville made his first-class debut for Otago in 2005, but has played just 18 games in 14 years, having recently returned to the first-class arena for New South Wales in Australia.
He then returned to New Zealand at the beginning of this year with a view to earning an international call-up, a move which appears to have paid off.
“We’ve been keeping a close eye on Will and like the look of his all-round game and skill-set,” said Larsen. “He bowls with good control and variation, while his added height means he gets that extra bit of bounce.
“He’s also a handy batsman down the order, as he showed with his half-century in the most recent round of the Ford Trophy. The Test squad already has a leg-spinner in Ish Sodhi and a left-arm spinner in Ajaz Patel, so we think Will’s right arm off-spin will balance out the attack nicely.”
The first Test begins in Abu Dhabi on Friday, November 16.
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