Leg-Spinner Todd Astle Included In New Zealand Test Squad

Leg-Spinner Todd Astle Included In New Zealand Test Squad
Leg-Spinner Todd Astle Included In New Zealand Test Squad
©REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte. Picture Supplied by Action Images

Leg-spinner Todd Astle is the most notable inclusion in New Zealand's 15-man Test squad for their tour of Sri Lanka, which begins on 30th October with a Twenty20 International in Pallekele, before the first of five One-Day Internationals two days later, and the two-Test series beginning on 17 November in Galle.

The limited-overs squad bares a strong resemblance to the one selected for the ICC World Twenty20, with Dan Vettori, Doug Bracewell and Martin Guptill the three to miss out from the squad that were knocked out at the super eight stage. Vettori is unavailable for both squads due to an Achilles tendon injury, while Bracewell has been dropped and Guptill rested.

"Doug Bracewell will miss the short-form matches so he can spend some time working on a few minor technical issues with his action," National Selection manager Kim Littlejohn said. "The best approach is to spend time getting things right in domestic four-day cricket ahead of the Test series.

"Ronnie Hira and Adam Milne have been included in the ODI squad having previously being selected in T20 sides. We have been impressed by the development of both players and they offer the side something a bit different.

"It has been a demanding period for the Black Caps, especially for the players who compete in all three forms. As part of the on-going management of player workload we have decided to rest Martin Guptill for the T20 and ODI matches so he can refresh for the upcoming international commitments."

Seam-bowler Trent Boult, wicket-keeper batsman Tom Latham and seam-bowling all-rounder Andrew Ellis are their replacements.

Of Astle's inclusion at the expense of Tarun Nethula in the Test squad, Litttlejohn added, "He has the ability to contribute in all three facets of the game and deserves his opportunity after a putting in consistent performances over a number of seasons. Tarun Nethula has missed out on selection this time. We think he would benefit from a return to regular first-class cricket where he can get some overs under his belt and stake his claim for reselection.

Littlejohn also said the wicketkeeper-batsman BJ Watling was not included in the Test squad as it was considered better for him to be given some game time in the Plunket Shield

Canterbury leg-spinner Astle was the second highest wicket-taker among spin bowlers in New Zealand's four-day competition, the Plunket Shield, last season with 31 wickets at an average of 38.35 and is a more than capable lower-order batsman. The 26 year-old spent the 2012 season playing club cricket in England for Essex Premier League side Buckhurst Hill and finished as their leading wicket-taker with 34 wickets at an average of 13.85, as well as scoring 375 runs from his 11 matches.

Test squad: Ross Taylor (captain), Todd Astle, Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Daniel Flynn, James Franklin, Martin Guptill, Chris Martin, Brendon McCullum, Rob Nicol, Jeetan Patel, Tim Southee, Kruger van Wyk (wicket-keeper), Neil Wagner, Kane Williamson. 

Limited-overs squad: Ross Taylor (captain), Trent Boult, Andrew Ellis, James Franklin, Ronnie Hira, Tom Latham (wicket-keeper), Brendon McCullum (wicket-keeper), Nathan McCullum, Kyle Mills, Adam Milne, Rob Nicol, Jacob Oram, Tim Southee, BJ Watling (wicket-keeper), Kane Williamson. 

© Cricket World 2012

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