Under-strength New Zealand squad to head for India tour
File photo of New Zealand players during a Test match at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui.(Photo by MICHAEL BRADLEY/AFP via Getty Images)
NEW ZEALAND will head into their Test series against India without pace spearhead Trent Boult and allrounder Colin de Grandhomme and with a number of players lacking match practice due to Covid-19 lockdowns.
Boult and De Grandhomme opted out of the two-Test tour due to ‘bubble’ fatigue and the prospect of having to spend 14 days isolating in New Zealand’s mandatory hotel quarantine.
Coach Gary Stead said Boult had already spent the best part of 60 days in managed isolation this year, while De Grandhomme had been on the road since May.
“From talking to both players it was clear the best option for them was to be left out of this Test tour and for them to instead focus on being ready for the New Zealand home summer,” he said.
Four of the 15-man squad named on Friday – Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, Ajaz Patel and Will Somerville – have had no match practice, with Covid outbreaks preventing them playing in the first class Plunket Shield competition.
Will Young, who has battled a wrist injury, will also go in cold.
Stead said he had hoped to bring the home-based players to the United Arab Emirates for a camp with other squad members after the T20 World Cup but the logistics ruled it out.
“It’s unfortunate that those guys haven’t had a lot of cricket, but one thing I do know they’ll be fresh when they get there, they’ll be raring to go and that’s always nice as well,” he said.
The teams will face off for the first time since New Zealand beat India to clinch the inaugural World Test Championship in Southampton in June.
New Zealand have included five players who can bowl spin, including uncapped 21-year-old Rachin Ravindra.
Reserve wicketkeeper Glenn Phillips has been recalled to the squad for the first time since his debut Test against Australia in Sydney in January 2020.
The first Test will be in Kanpur from Nov. 25, with the second in Mumbai from Dec. 3.
The T20 squad will also travel to India for short form matches in the leadup.
Stead said some of the players at the T20 World Cup who are also in the Test squad, including captain Kane Williamson, might be rested from the leadup T20 matches in India.
“I’ve already flagged it with those guys who are in those situations and I guess we’ll just let the course of the World Cup run through first,” he said.
New Zealand play Namibia in Sharjah later on Friday at the T20 World Cup.
Kane Williamson (captain), Tom Blundell, Devon Conway, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Ajaz Patel, Glenn Phillips, Rachin Ravindra, Mitchell Santner, Will Somerville, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Will Young, Neil Wagner.