New Zealand Cricket (NZC) has picked the bowling all-rounder Mitchell Santner in the 13-man squad for the forthcoming two-match Test series against Pakistan. Santner was picked over his countryman Ajaz Patel considering his resourcefulness in both batting and bowling.
Head coach Gary Stead praised Santner saying his skills will benefit the New Zealand team reach the finals of the World Test Championship.
Santner has been one of the key figures in New Zealand’s limited-overs squad and even led the side in the third ODI against West Indies. He has not appeared in the side’s red-ball fixture since last year’s Boxing Day test against Australia at the MCG.
On the other hand, Ajaz Patel has not been a regular feature in the New Zealand team off late due to an injury. He joined New Zealand’s squad for the second Test against West Indies after recovering from the injury but failed to be selected in the playing XI.
“It’s really unfortunate for Ajaz, who has overcome his calf-injury, but the all-round ability of Mitchell Santner is our preferred option for this series,” Stead said.
“The fact Ajaz hasn’t been able to have any game-time in the lead-up was also a concern for the selectors.” he added.
New Zealand also named the 13-man squad for the two-match Test series against Pakistan slated, to begin with, the Boxing Day on December 26. The series will be a part of the ICC World Test Championship.