After a dismal show in India in the Test and One-Day International series, Martin Guptill, the New Zealand opener, has been left out of the national squad for the two-Test series against Pakistan, it was announced on Thursday (November 10).
New Zealand selectors have rung in a few changes as Jeet Raval, the uncapped Auckland batsman, has been included in the squad. They also included Colin de Grandhomme, the allrounder, and Todd Astle, who last played a Test in November 2012. Luke Ronchi and Doug Bracewell did not find a place in the the squad.
“Jeet has been in the picture for a while now and he benefitted from spending time in the environment during the tour of Africa,” Gavin Larsen, the New Zealand selector, said. His form in recent seasons has been excellent and the opportunity for Jeet to begin his international career in familiar conditions will be important.
“Luke, Martin, Doug miss out this series, but we know that they and the others who miss out will continue to work hard on their game and get the chance to continue staking a claim in the domestic competition.”
Raval has been in fine touch with the bat and has scored 244 runs in the three matches so far at an average of 40.66 in the Plunkett Shield, while Astle too has been performing consistently for Canterbury with 14 wickets from three games at an average of 18.07.
Todd, on the other hand, has been one of the top-four wicket-takers in the Plunkett Shield for the past threes seasons. Larsen said: “His bowling has continued to improve and he’s also shown impressive form with the bat, so Todd provides a similar skill set to Mitchell Santner in his absence.
“Since Colin returned from injury last season, he’s made a number of key contributions with bat and ball. He’s made an impressive start to the current Plunkett Shield season and he provides us with another strong allrounder option.”
The selectors were a little hand-cuffed in the choices they had considering the injuries to Mitchell Santner, Mark Craig, Adam Milne and Mitchell McClenaghan.
Pakistan play their first Test against the hosts in Christchurch from November 17 before travelling to Hamilton for the second Test from November 25.
New Zealand squad: Kane Williamson (capt), Todd Astle, Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Jimmy Neesham, Jeet Raval, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling.