Black Caps, NZ A squads named

Kane Williamson. Photo: Getty Images
Kane Williamson. Photo: Getty Images
It's business as usual with the naming of New Zealand's first test cricket squad to face the West Indies at the Basin Reserve at the start of December.

But there'll be plenty of interest in the New Zealand A team to play the tourists a week earlier.

Both teams were named this morning and while the test 12 - with one player to be added - is a status quo selection, the New Zealand A group includes an exciting trio of fast bowlers with a chance to press their case for a test future.

Adam Milne, Lockie Ferguson, fresh off his 12-wicket haul for Auckland in their Plunket Shield win over Otago, and Scott Kuggeleijn will tee off against the West Indies at Lincoln and form one of New Zealand's quickest fast-bowling trios of recent times.

And while the regular test threesome of Trent Boult, Tim Southee and Neil Wagner have a lock on the five-day spots for now, nothing beats a touch of pressure on incumbents to bring out real competition.

"It's a really good opportunity for all three," national selection convener Gavin Larsen said.

"Lockie, Milney and Scott are arguably the three quickest in the country and if we went down the path of adding another quick [to the test squad] the probability is it might come from there."

There is one question mark in the test group, over wicketkeeper BJ Watling who is battling to get over a niggling hip strain.

He will play as a batsman for Northern Districts against Auckland in the Plunket Shield match in Hamilton starting today and has also been earmarked to play against Otago at Alexandra immediately before the test squad gather.

Handing the keeping gloves to one-day keeper-batsman Tom Latham is not likely to happen should Watling miss the Basin test.

That means Wellington's Tom Blundell - named to keep for NZ A against the tourists and a recent tourist to India with the A squad - is shaping as the player at the head of a competitive wicketkeeper/batsman group, which also includes Northern Districts' Tim Seifert.

There are three changes from the last New Zealand test team - back in late March against South Africa in Hamilton - with Boult, Southee and senior batsman Ross Taylor, who all missed that match with various injuries, returning.

Martin Guptill, angling to force his way back into the test team, will press on with his switch to the middle order, captains NZ A and will bat at No4, with hard-hitting Colin Munro at No5.

New Zealand teams
New Zealand team for the first West Indies test, starting at the Basin Reserve on December 1:

Kane Williamson (c), Tom Latham, Jeet Raval, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, BJ Watling, Colin de Grandhomme, Tim Southee, Matt Henry, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult, one to be added.

New Zealand A team to play West Indies at Lincoln from November 25:
Martin Guptill (c, Auckland), Raval (Auckland), George Worker (Central Districts), Neil Broom (Northern Districts), Colin Munro (Auckland), Tom Bruce (CD), Todd Astle (Canterbury), Tom Blundell (Wellington), Scott Kuggeleijn (ND), Adam Milne (CD), Lockie Ferguson (Auckland).

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