Christchurch: New Zealand have finalised their 15-man squad for this week’s ICC World Test Championship final against India.
In a boost for the Black Caps, both captain Kane Williamson and wicket-keeper BJ Watling have been included in the 15 for the decider in Southampton, starting 18 June.
Williamson and Watling missed the second Test against England due to elbow and back injuries respectively. The WTC final will be the last game of Watling’s glittering career.
NEW ZEALAND SQUAD
Kane Williamson (c), Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Devon Conway, Colin de Grandhomme, Matt Henry, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Ajaz Patel, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling, Will Young
“Kane and BJ have certainly benefitted from their week of rest and rehabilitation and we expect them to be fit and available for the final,” New Zealand coach Gary Stead said.
“Playing in a World Cup Final is a really special occasion and I know the guys are looking forward to getting into their work here in Southampton.
“India are a world class outfit who possess match winners all through their line-up, so we’re under no illusion about how tough they will be to beat.”
The five players to miss the cut from New Zealand’s 20-man squad against England are Doug Bracewell, Jacob Duffy, Daryl Mitchell, Rachin Ravindra and Mitchell Santner.
“It’s not easy to say goodbye to guys who have given so much to the group.
“Doug, Jacob and Rachin have been selfless in their attitude to helping the team and supporting those in the playing XI.”
Stead singled out all-rounders Mitchell Santner and Daryl Mitchell as two in particular who were unlucky to miss out, with specialist spinner Ajaz Patel and the recently returned Colin de Grandhomme preferred.
“There’s had to be some tough calls with Mitchell and Daryl victims of the fierce competition we currently have for places in the Test side.
“We’ve gone with Ajaz as our specialist spinner after an impressive outing at Edgbaston and we believe he could be a factor at the Ageas (Hampshire) Bowl.
“Colin’s been an integral member of our Test set-up for many years and it was great to see him return at Lord’s after a long injury lay-off. He’s a proven performer at the top level and we back him to do a job with the bat or the ball if called upon.”