Senior pacemaker Trent Boult has not made himself available for the two-test series against India due to bio-bubble fatigue, as New Zealand on Thursday named five spinners in its 15-man squad for the tour, which starts in Kanpur on 25 November. Both Boult and versatile player Colin de Grandhomme decided to skip the tour, which has remained in various bio-bubbles for a long time. “Boult and Colin de Grandhomme have made themselves unavailable for selection due to the prospect of further time in bio-safe bubbles and Managed Isolation,” reads New Zealand Cricket’s official website.
Gary Stead, head coach of the Black Caps, said players’ well-being remains paramount. “Trent has already spent the best part of 60 days in difficult-to-manage isolation this year, while Colin has been on the road since May until recently when he returned from Pakistan.
“From the conversation with both players, it was clear that the best option for them was to be left out of this Test tour and that they would rather concentrate on being ready for the New Zealand home summer,” said Stead.
The Blackcaps will travel with five spinners, including the seasoned trio of Ajaz Patel, Will Somerville and Mitchell Santner.
They will be supported by youngsters Rachin Ravindra and Glenn Phillips. The spin-heavy attack makes sense, as conditions in the series start (Kanpur, 25-29 November) and the second Test (Mumbai, 3-7 December) are expected to suit the slower bowlers.
The rest of the team has a familiar feel with the regular Test top five and Will Young filling the batting positions.
Tim Southee, Neil Wagner and Kyle Jamieson are the pass options. Glenn Phillips has been selected in the Test squad for the first time since his debut against Australia as a late replacement in 2020 when the Blackcaps camp was hit by disease on the eve of the New Year’s Test in Sydney.
The 21-year-old Ravindra made his New Zealand debut in a T20I against Bangladesh in September and although he toured with the Test team in England earlier this year, he is not yet playing in the longest form of the match.
Patel and Somerville will lead the spin attack and have a particularly impressive record when playing together, combining for 28 wickets in their three Tests as teammates: against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi in 2018, and Sri Lanka in Galle and Colombo in 2019.
The India Test series will be the first for New Zealand without wicketkeeper Stj Watling since his retirement after the WTC final in England.
Tom Blundell will take over the test gloves. Stead said they very much followed a horses-for-course approach when choosing the tour group.
“Touring India is one of the greatest experiences in cricket and I know our guys are very much looking forward to the challenge. It is fair to say we expect turnaround conditions and it is great to have a range of options in this department , “Stead said.
The coach is confident that New Zealand spinners will do well. “The success of our spinners on recent tours to the sub-continent has been encouraging and we hope they can appear prominently again.
“It’s really exciting to start the second installment of the WTC and we know there will be an extra incentive for all the teams we play after our victory in the first competition.”
Group:Kane Williamson (c), Tom Blundell (wk), Devon Conway, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Ajaz Patel, Glenn Phillips, Rachin Ravindra, Mitchell Santner, Will Somerville, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Will Young, Neil Wagner .
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