On Tuesday, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) announced the 15-man squad for the inaugural ICC World Test Championship Final against India, at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton from June 18-22.
Kane Williamson and BJ Watling missed the second Test against England due to elbow and back injuries respectively. The World Test Championship final will be the last game of the 35-year-old Watling, who announced his retirement last month.
Ajaz Patel has been selected as the specialist spinner, with Colin de Grandhomme the all-rounder and Will Young the specialist batting cover, while Tom Blundell is the back-up wicket-keeper.
Doug Bracewell, Jacob Duffy, Daryl Mitchell, Rachin Ravindra and Mitchell Santner are the five players who will drop out from the original 20-player touring squad for the England Test series.
“It’s not easy to say goodbye to guys who have given so much to the group. Doug, Jacob and Rachin have been selfless in their attitude to helping the team and supporting those in the playing XI,” New Zealand coach Gary Stead said.
“There’s had to be some tough calls with Mitchell and Daryl victims of the fierce competition we currently have for places in the Test side,” he added.
“We’ve gone with Ajaz as our specialist spinner after an impressive outing at Edgbaston and we believe he could be a factor at the Ageas Bowl. Colin’s been an integral member of our Test set-up for many years and it was great to see him return at Lord’s after a long injury lay-off. He’s a proven performer at the top level and we back him to do a job with the bat or the ball if called upon,” he further added.
“Kane and BJ have certainly benefitted from their week of rest and rehabilitation and we expect them to be fit and available for the final. Playing in a World Cup Final is a really special occasion and I know the guys are looking forward to getting into their work here in Southampton,” he said.
“India are a world-class outfit who possess match winners all through their line-up, so we’re under no illusion about how tough they will be to beat,” he concluded.
New Zealand WTC Squad: Kane Williamson (c), Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Devon Conway, Colin de Grandhomme, Matt Henry, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Ajaz Patel, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling and Will Young.