Photo Credit: ICC
Canterbury leg-spinner Ish Sodhi has been recalled to the BLACKCAPS Test squad for the upcoming tour to Pakistan, four years on from his last international outing in whites.
The 30-year-old Sodhi’s been included alongside one-time Test player Glenn Phillips and the uncapped Blair Tickner, as part of a 15-player squad for the two Test series, which starts in Karachi on December 26 and concludes in Multan from January 3.
The tour will be Tim Southee’s first as Test captain after Kane Williamson earlier announced he was stepping down as skipper in the longest format.
Sodhi’s played 125 white-ball games for the BLACKCAPS and been a mainstay in the T20 side – recently becoming just the fifth male player in the world to claim 100 T20I wickets.
Despite not being able to play a lot of red-ball cricket of late, Sodhi has a strong first-class record featuring 279 wickets at an average of 33, with 16 five-wicket bags and two ten-wicket hauls.
Phillips played his only Test against Australia at the SCG in January 2020, scoring a half-century in the first innings.
Like Sodhi, the 26-year-old Phillips has made his name in the T20I format, racking up 56 international caps and a current ICC T20I batting ranking of seven.
Tickner featured in the BLACKCAPS Test squads for the series against South Africa at the end of the home-summer and away to England in the winter, but is yet to debut, after playing 20 white-ball internationals.
Coach Gary Stead congratulated the trio on their inclusion in the squad.
“It’s always an exciting time for a player to be selected in a Test squad and even more so when you’ve been away for an extended period of time.” Stead said.
“I know all three of the guys have a real passion for the longest form of the game and are looking forward to getting into their red-ball work at the pre-tour camp in Lincoln this week.”
Stead acknowledged that Sodhi had not been able to play a lot of red-ball cricket recently due to the demands of the international white-ball schedule, but said he had the faith of the selectors.
“Ish has been playing international cricket for almost a decade now and we’re backing his skills and experience.
“Looking at the current conditions and style of play in the Pakistan and England Test series, we feel having a wrist-spinner in the team will be important.”
Stead was full of praise for Phillips who he said had taken his white-ball game to new heights in the past two seasons.
“Glenn is clearly a very talented batsman and we’re excited to introduce him back into the Test squad for this tour.
“His ability to bowl off-spin is also a plus point with the prospect of turning pitches.”
Stead said Tickner’s inclusion reflected his place amongst the Test bowling stocks in the country.
“Blair’s been with the group for our past two Test series and we believe he’s very much ready for Test cricket.
“He has genuine pace and gets good bounce which is a real asset to have in sub-continental conditions.”
BLACKCAPS Test squad for Pakistan
Tim Southee (c)
Tom Blundell (wk)
Trent Boult made himself unavailable for the tour, while Kyle Jamieson remains unavailable for selection as he continues his recovery from a back injury.
Stead said the squad was looking forward to the prospect of playing Test cricket in Pakistan for the first time since 2003.
“It’s going to be a new experience and the kind of challenge that excites this group.
“We’ve naturally been keeping an eye on the current Test series against England, particularly the last two Tests of the series held in Multan and Karachi, where we will play.
“This series will be the first for Tim Southee as Test captain and together we’re both looking forward to getting into our work for the tour.”
The BLACKCAPS one-day squads for Pakistan and India will be named on Monday December 19.