Patel gets nod for NZ against Sri Lanka

Ajaz Patal. Photo: Getty
Ajaz Patal. Photo: Getty
Third test hero Will Somerville has been dropped by the Black Caps, despite taking seven wickets against Pakistan on his test debut.

The Black Caps take on Sri Lanka in two tests, starting at the Basin Reserve on Saturday, and with only one spinner set to play in the home tests, the Black Caps selectors have opted to retain Ajaz Patel ahead of Somerville. Both players performed well in the series victory over Pakistan.

Patel is the specialist spinner in the 13 player squad, with Somerville and Ish Sodhi released to play in the the fourth round of the Plunket Shield along with Tom Blundell, who also drops out from the victorious UAE touring party.

Central Stags batsman Will Young has earned his maiden international call-up as batting cover, following strong form on the domestic scene and for New Zealand A, for whom he scored a century yesterday against India A.

Selector Gavin Larsen said Patel got the nod based on his proven performances in New Zealand conditions.

"Ajaz certainly grabbed his opportunity on the UAE tour," Larsen elaborated.

"Will Somerville was an obvious stand-out on debut in the Abu Dhabi decider and it's great to know we've got quality spin bowlers who can create competition for places.

"It's an exciting time for Will Young who has been pushing for higher honours for a while now. He scored hundreds against Pakistan A and India A in recent months and fully deserves his call-up.

"The first international of the home summer is always an exciting time and the revamped Basin Reserve should be a fitting setting to launch the Sri Lankan tour."

Black Caps test squad: Kane Williamson (c), Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Ajaz Patel, Jeet Raval, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling, Will Young.

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