Photo Credit: New Zealand Cricket
Bowler Kyle Jamieson has been selected in a BLACKCAPS squad for the first time since he was forced out of last year’s England Test Tour with a back injury.
Jamieson features in a 14-player squad to face England in a two Test series, starting with a Pink-Ball day-night Test at Bay Oval in Tauranga from February 16-20.
The squad also features leg-spinner Ish Sodhi, who has retained his place in the BLACKCAPS squad following his successful return to Test cricket against Pakistan.
The 30-year-old made an impressive return to the Test arena in Pakistan, ending the series as the leading wicket-taker (13) while also adding valuable runs at number eight.
Off-spinning all-rounder Michael Bracewell provides the other spin option in the squad, alongside the pace bowling group of captain Tim Southee, Matt Henry, Jamieson, Neil Wagner and Blair Tickner.
A smaller squad for home tours means there’s no room for spinner Ajaz Patel or batsman Glenn Phillips, both of whom also toured Pakistan recently.
BLACKCAPS Test Squad to face England
Tim Southee (c) (Northern Districts)
Michael Bracewell (Wellington Firebirds)
Tom Blundell (wk) (Wellington Firebirds)
Devon Conway (Wellington Firebirds)
Matt Henry (Canterbury)
Kyle Jamieson (Auckland Aces)
Tom Latham (Canterbury)
Daryl Mitchell (Canterbury)
Henry Nicholls (Canterbury)
Ish Sodhi (Canterbury)
Blair Tickner (Central Stags)
Neil Wagner (Northern Districts)
Kane Williamson (Northern Districts)
Will Young (Central Stags)
BLACKCAPS coach Gary Stead said the fact Jamieson was available for selection was testament to his dedication to his recovery programme.
“Kyle is a very determined character with a strong desire to play international cricket for New Zealand,” said Stead
“Since he was forced from the field in Nottingham he’s been very clear that he wants to get his body right to return.
“He’s reported good progress since his return to professional cricket with Auckland and he will get the opportunity to play some long form cricket as part of the New Zealand XI Squad to face England in their warm-up match next week at Seddon Park.”
Stead said Sodhi’s retention reflected his strong impact on the series against Pakistan.
“Ish really impressed us with his approach with bat and ball. He’s worked very hard on both in recent years and it was great to see that on the international Test stage.”
Wellington Firebirds keeper Tom Blundell and Canterbury bowler Matt Henry both finished the Pakistan Tour with injuries but are both expected to be fully fit when the squad assembles in Tauranga.
Auckland Aces head coach Doug Watson will join up with the Test Squad ahead of the Bay Oval Test as batting coach with regular BLACKCAPS batting coach Luke Ronchi taking a break following the India Tour and joining the group in Wellington.
The second Test of the series will be held at Wellington’s Cello Basin Reserve from February 24-28, where strong crowds are expected with three days already close to being sold out.
NZC will continue to theme the weekend days of Test matches this year with Saturday remaining as ‘Dress Up’ day when prizes will be on offer, and Sunday is as Kids go free with an adult.
The Test Squad will assemble in Tauranga on Sunday February 12.