REUTERS – Legspinning all-rounder Todd Astle is in line for a limited overs debut after being named in New Zealand’s 13-man squad for a World Twenty20 warmup series against Pakistan.
Astle, who played one test for New Zealand three years ago, replaces legspinner Ish Sodhi from the squad that swept Sri Lanka in their two-match series.
The 29-year-old earns his spot after some solid all-round performances for Canterbury in New Zealand’s domestic 50-over competition but both he and Sodhi may still be retained for the World T20 in India, with coach Mike Hesson keen to take three spinners to the subcontinent.
“With the spin-friendly conditions we’re likely to play in during the ICC World Twenty20 in India, it’s important we have all of our bases covered and Todd is certainly an option for us,” Hesson said in a statement.
“He’ll get an opportunity to play at some point against Pakistan, in what will be a tough series.”
New Zealand host Pakistan in the opener of the series at Eden Park on Friday, followed by matches in Hamilton and Wellington.
Left-arm spinning all-rounder Mitch Santner is the other slow bowler in the Kane Williamson-captained squad.
Tom Latham has been added to the squad for the first match to replace resting batsman Ross Taylor, who will return for the second and third games, the only other change from the Sri Lanka series.
The World T20 starts in India in March.
New Zealand squad: Kane Williamson (capt), Corey Anderson, Todd Astle, Trent Boult, Grant Elliott, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham (first game only), Mitchell McClenaghan, Adam Milne, Colin Munro, Luke Ronchi, Mitchell Santner, Ross Taylor (second and third games)
(Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)