New Zealand name 13-man squad for Pakistan World Test Championship series
New Zealand has named a 13-man squad for their crucial ICC World Test Championship series against Pakistan. Skipper Kane Williamson is back after missing the second Test against West Indies while Mitchell Santner has been retained as the spin option, series starting on 26 December.
The Black Caps will push for a place in the inaugural ICC World Test Championship Final, as they look to back up their 2-0 series win over West Indies earlier this month. The first Test on Boxing Day takes place at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui, before the New Year’s Test at Hagley Oval in Christchurch on January 3.
New Zealand sits just behind India in third place in the WTC points table. A series sweep against Pakistan and a heavy defeat for India in Australia would see the Black Caps well placed to return to Lord’s in London for another ICC final.
With Williamson returning after missing the second Test against West Indies for the birth of his first child, Devon Conway drops out of the squad, with Will Young continuing as the batting cover. Daryl Mitchell remains as the pace-bowling all-rounder in place of Colin de Grandhomme who was last week ruled out of the series with a stress-reaction to his right ankle. The Test squad assembles in Mount Maunganui on Wednesday.
New Zealand Test Squad:
Kane Williamson (c), Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling (wk), Will Young
Pakistan have another blow as Babar Azam and Imam-ul-Haq have been ruled out of the first Test against New Zealand, which begins on 26 December in Mount Maunganui. 24-year-old Imran Butt has got his maiden call-up. Both Babar and Imam had fractured their thumbs during a training session last week and will be monitored closely by the team’s medical staff. Mohammad Rizwan will lead in Babar’s absence, he becoming Pakistan’s 33rd Test captain to lead the side.
Pakistan Squad: Mohammad Rizwan (captain for first Test), Abid Ali, Azhar Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Fawad Alam, Haris Sohail, Imran Butt, Mohammad Abbas, Naseem Shah, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Shan Masood, Sohail Khan and Yasir Shah, Babar Azam (not available for first Test), Imam-ul-Haq (not available for first Test).
26-30 December – first Test v New Zealand, Mount Manganui
3-7 January – second Test v New Zealand, Christchurch
New Zealand and Pakistan recently faced each other’s in the twenty20 international series, New Zealand secured a 2-1 series win while Pakistan beat the host in the final game with Faheem Ashraf’s haul of 3/20 helped keep New Zealand down to 173/7 before Mohammad Rizwan splendid knock of 59-ball 89 in the third T20I in Napier. Now, The two teams next meet in the first of two ICC World Test Championship matches starting on Boxing Day in Tauranga.