Wednesday, April 24, 2024

NZC: Southee, Williamson set for 100 | Mitchell returns for Australia Tests

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Photo Credit: New Zealand Cricket

Tim Southee and Kane Williamson are set to become the fifth and sixth BLACKCAPS to play 100 Test matches, during the Tegel Test series against Australia starting in Wellington later this month.

The pair are on track to bring up their 100th Tests in the second Test at Hagley Oval, following in the footsteps of Stephen Fleming, Daniel Vettori, Brendon McCullum and Ross Taylor.

Captain Southee and former captain Williamson enter the series as New Zealand’s second all-time leading Test wicket-taker and all-time leading Test run scorer, respectively.

Having progressed through the Northern Districts pathway and represented New Zealand together at Under 19 level, the pair reach the milestone having also played their 50th Tests together, in 2016 against Zimbabwe.

Southee will follow Ross Taylor, Virat Kohli and David Warner as just the fourth player in history to have played 100 matches in each individual format.

BLACKCAPS head coach Gary Stead praised the pair’s ongoing contributions to the team.

“To play 100 Tests for your country is an incredible achievement,” said Stead

“It takes a huge amount of longevity and skill, and to keep improving and to manage the demands of Test cricket over a long period of time is a testament to their character.

“Tim and Kane continue to be brilliant servants of the game in New Zealand and influential figures in the BLACKCAPS environment.

“Their achievements at Test level speak for themselves and they are undoubtedly two of the greatest players to have ever worn the New Zealand Test shirt.”

Daryl Mitchell returns to the squad for the two-Test series after missing the second Test against South Africa and the upcoming Australia T20Is to allow a foot injury to heal.

Mitchell returns to a 14-strong squad which also includes Scott Kuggeleijn in place of Kyle Jamieson, who was yesterday ruled out of the rest of the home summer with a back injury.

Kuggeleijn, who made his Test debut against England at Bay Oval last summer, is selected off the back of strong performances for New Zealand A against Australia A last year, including match figures of 9-113 and an unbeaten 101 to lead the team to victory in the first four-day ‘Test’.

The Northern Districts paceman has continued his form in the Plunket Shield, leading the wicket-taking charts with 22 wickets at 16 from the first four rounds.

Selector Sam Wells said Kuggeleijn’s performances for New Zealand A warranted his place in the side.

“Scott performed admirably with both bat and ball on the recent New Zealand A tour to Australia,” said Wells.

“He will bring genuine pace with the ball and adds extra depth with the bat which is always valuable at Test level.

Wells welcomed the return of Daryl Mitchell to the squad and said the Canterbury batsman’s foot was healing well.

“Everything is tracking well with Daryl.

“The decision to give him a period of rehabilitation was necessary and will allow him to be at his best for what is an important series for the team.

“He’s a key member of the group and has proven, with his performances over the past 12 to 18 months, how much value he adds to the Test team.

“Daryl will keep focusing on his rehabilitation over the next week and will be fit and ready for the first Test in Wellington.

The remainder of the squad is the same as the group which claimed a first ever Test series victory over South Africa last week.

Will O’Rourke retains his place after a memorable Test debut against South Africa, where he claimed the best ever match figures for New Zealand in Tests (9-93), including his maiden Test five-wicket bag (5-34).

Mitchell Santner continues as the specialist spin bowling option, while recent Test double-century maker Rachin Ravindra and allrounder Glenn Phillips also add spin bowling options.

Trent Boult, who will feature in the KFC T20I series against Australia, was not considered for Test selection due to minimal recent red ball cricket – his last Test coming in June 2022 against England in Leeds.

Michael Bracewell was not considered for selection as he continues to recover from a finger injury.

BLACKCAPS v Australia Tegel Test series squad

Tim Southee (c) (Northern Districts)

Tom Blundell (wk) (Wellington)
Devon Conway (Wellington)

Matt Henry (Canterbury)

Scott Kuggeleijn (Northern Districts)

Tom Latham (Canterbury)

Daryl Mitchell (Canterbury)

Will O’Rourke (Canterbury)

Glenn Phillips (Otago)

Rachin Ravindra (Wellington)

Mitchell Santner (Northern Districts)

Neil Wagner (Northern Districts)

Kane Williamson (Northern Districts)

Will Young (Central Districts)

Wells said O’Rourke impressed with his pace and bounce at Hamilton.

“Will was outstanding on Test debut and showed he has all the skills to succeed at Test level,” he said.

“He’s still a young man who’s learning his trade and the experience of bowling against a strong Australian batting line-up will only help his development.

The series is the first time the BLACKCAPS have faced Australia in Tests at home since 2016 when the visitors took a 2-0 series victory with wins in Wellington and Christchurch.

Bumper crowds are expected for both matches with the 1stTest at the Cello Basin Reserve completely sold out and the 2nd Test at Hagley Oval sold out on Day 2 with very limited tickets remaining on Days 1, 3 and 4.

Wells said the series, which pins the inaugural World Test Champions against the current Champions, would be a memorable one for all involved.

“Test series against Australia always come with plenty of excitement, even more so in front of home kiwi fans.

“Australia have named another strong squad with a host of world-class players who have plenty of experience at Test level.

“They’ve shown with their success in the last World Test Championship cycle that they’re a quality side, so this series will give us a good indication of where we’re at as a Test team.”

The squad assembles in Wellington on February 26 ahead of the first Test at a sold out Cello Basin Reserve starting on February 29.

Series overview

1st Tegel Test – 29 February-4 March – Cello Basin Reserve, Wellington

2nd Tegel Test – 8-12 March – Hagley Oval, Christchurch

Australia Test squad

Pat Cummins (c), Steve Smith (vc), Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Michael Neser, Matthew Renshaw, Mitchell Starc

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