New Zealand have announced the Test squad against England where the captain Kane Williamson has been declared fit. Their white-ball seamer Lockie Ferguson earned his maiden Test call-up as well on Friday. One of the best in recent times, Williamson, who is currently the world’s third-ranked Test batsman, didn’t play in the recently-concluded Twenty20 International series because of a hip injury.
New Zealand selector Gavin Larsen said the two-week break helped Kane Williamson to return with full fitness in a historic inaugural Test at his home ground of Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui.
“Kane’s made good progress over the past fortnight and we’re delighted to welcome back a player of his class and experience,” Larsen added when announcing a 15-member squad to face England and Australia over the next two months.
The call-up for Lockie Ferguson and the return of leg-spinner Todd Astle in place of spinners Will Somerville and Ajaz Patel will b beneficial for them. Even these are the only two changes to the New Zealand squad from their recent away series against Sri Lanka.
The inclusion of Lockie Ferguson came on the back of an impressive domestic season. He has seen a rapid rise who has been a key player of New Zealand in white-balls for the last couple of years. Even he was the second-highest wicket-taker at the ICC World Cup in England and Wales earlier this year.
“There’s no doubt Lockie has been knocking on the door for a while now and we’re delighted to finally bring him into the Test fold,” Larsen said. “It’s well documented he has raw pace, but he also possesses a quality bowling skill set and has proved his durability.”
“He showed good form against England in the recent T20 series and backed that up with a solid outing for the Auckland Aces in the Plunket Shield, where he claimed 4 for 23 against the Wellington Firebirds. Our pace bowling stocks are strong at the moment and we feel Lockie will add another dimension to the picture and will create some great competition,” he further added.
The first Test will take place in Mount Maunganui on November 21 while the second one will be played in Hamilton. So far England have played five Tests in ICC World Test Championship and are fifth with 56 points. New Zealand, on the other hand, played two Tests in Sri Lanka, have 60 points and are second on the table after India.
New Zealand squad: Kane Williamson (C), Todd Astle, Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Jeet Raval, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling