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New Zealand recall Neesham, Patel for first Test against South Africa

James Neesham returns to New Zealand squad
James Neesham returns to New Zealand squad

New Zealand have recalled all-rounder James Neesham and off-spinner Jeetan Patel in the squad for the first Test against South Africa that begins in Dunedin next week.

Neesham last played a Test during the away series in India in October last year and has been included in the squad after his promising performances in the limited overs series.

Meanwhile, Patel, who was also part of the Test squad that toured India, is expected to provide cover to Mitchell Santner, who has been their preferred spinner. Patel's selection comes ahead of leg-spinner Ish Sodhi, who has been a consistent performer in the limited overs format for the Black Caps.

To accommodate the duo, the selectors have left out Dean Brownlie and Matt Henry from the squad that will be captained by Kane Williamson.

Tim Southee and Trent Boult will spearhead the bowling attack which will also have Neil Wagner, who recovered from a finger injury while Neesham along with Colin de Grandhomme occupy the all-round options along with Santner.

Martin Guptill, who scored a breathtaking unbeaten 180-run knock in the recent One-Day International against the Proteas was not considered for selection with Tom Latham and Jeet Raval being the preferred openers.

The three-match Test series will be played between 8th and 29th March with Wellington and Hamilton being the other two venues.

New Zealand: Kane Williamson (captain), Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Tom Latham, Jimmy Neesham, Henry Nicholls, Jeetan Patel, Jeet Raval, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling.

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