Central Stags spinner Ajaz Patel is in line to play his first match for the BLACKCAPS on home soil after being included in the squad to face Sri Lanka in two Tests, starting at the Basin Reserve on Saturday.
Patel is the specialist spinner in the 13 player squad, with Will Somerville and Ish Sodhi released to play in the the fourth round of the Plunket Shield along with Wellington Firebirds wicket-keeper Tom Blundell, who also drops out from the victorious UAE touring party.
Stags batsman Will Young has earned his maiden call-up to the BLACKCAPS as the batting cover, following strong form on the domestic scene and for New Zealand A.
Selector Gavin Larsen said the squad were looking forward to starting the home summer in Wellington.
“There’s a real swell of support for the Test team following their efforts in the UAE, so we’re hoping to transition that momentum into a big home summer,” he said.
“Ajaz certainly grabbed his opportunity on the UAE tour and he’s a proven performer in New Zealand conditions.
“Will Somerville was an obvious stand-out on debut in the Abu Dhabi decider and it’s great to know we’ve got quality spin bowlers who can create competition for places.
“It’s an exciting time for Will Young who has been pushing for higher honours for a while now. He scored hundreds against Pakistan A and India A in recent months and fully deserves his call-up.
“The first international of the home summer is always an exciting time and the revamped Basin Reserve should be a fitting setting to launch the Sri Lankan tour.”
BLACKCAPS Test Squad
Kane Williamson (c)
Colin de Grandhomme