NZ vs PAK: New Zealand Cricket (NZC) has announced a 15-member squad for the upcoming two-match test series against Pakistan that is scheduled to start on December 26. The series is of utmost importance as New Zealand will be travelling to Pakistan after 20 years. The last time the Blackcaps were on Pakistani soil and played an international game was back in 2003.
Notably, NZC has roped in ace leg-spinner Ish Sodhi who will form a vital element of the squad. In view of the dusty subcontinent conditions, Sodhi’s inclusion will strengthen the Kiwi bowling attack. Sodhi has remained distant from red-ball cricket even after a fabulous first-class record of 279 wickets in 88 games. However, he has almost remained a T20 specialist and has recently joined the 100-wickets club.
Incumbent New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson has stepped down from test captaincy. This has made the NZC hand over the throne to the newly appointed test captain Tim Southee who will lead the side against Pakistan. Williamson will continue to be a part of the contingent.
New Zealand has also introduced another white-ball specialist batsman Glenn Philipps to display his talent with the red ball. Uncapped Blair Tickner has also found his way into the squad after two unsuccessful attempts to make it in the XI in the home series against South Africa and the overseas tour against England.
In a major setback for the team, veteran paceman Trent Boult has confirmed his unavailability for the series and he will not be a part of the series. Kyle Jamieson has also been not included in the squad as he is recovering from a back injury.
New Zealand Test Squad for the Pakistan series:
Tim Southee (c), Michael Bracewell, Tom Blundell (wk), Devon Conway, Will Young, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Henry Nicholls, Ajaz Patel, Glenn Phillips, Ish Sodhi, Blair Tickner, Neil Wagner, Kane Williamson
New Zealand will take on Pakistan in the first test at Multan on December 26 whereas the second test is scheduled to take place in Karachi from January 3. The test series will be followed by a three-match ODI series that will kick start on January 10.