Dubai: New Zealand have begun preparation for their UAE series against Pakistan much in advance. They named the Test team by including an India-born left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel in the squad.
New Zealand will play a three-match Test series in UAE during October against Pakistan. The tour will also comprise three One-Day Internationals and three Twenty20 matches. Pakistan wanted New Zealand to play the three Twenty20 matches in Pakistan but last week the New Zealand Cricket Board declined the Pakistan Cricket Board offer because of security reasons.
Twenty-nine-year-old Patel was born in Mumbai but moved to New Zealand as a child. He has been the New Zealand’s domestic Plunket Shield’s leading wicket taker for the past three years. He had even bagged the domestic player of the year award in 2017. Patel, who is likely to make his Test debut in UAE had taken 48 wickets at an average of 21.52 for Central Stags team in the recent season.
Gavin Larsen, the chief selector, while announcing the team said: “Ajaz has deserved his inclusion on the sheer weight of his domestic first-class form over the past couple of summers.”
Patel has also been included in the New Zealand A team that will also arrive in UAE before their Test squad to play some matches. Based on his performance he may get a call into the New Zealand’s One Day International team and T20 squad too. New Zealand selectors have kept two slots open in the One-day and T20 teams to include those who do well for New Zealand A team in UAE.
New Zealand A will play T20, 50 over and a few first class matches against Pakistan A team. New Zealand pacer Trent Boult will miss the T20 series as he will be on paternity leave after the Test and ODI series.
Kane Williamson, who has proved to be an excellent player of spin in subcontinent conditions, will lead the team in all three formats.
Test squad: Kane Williamson (capt), Todd Astle, Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Ajaz Patel, Jeet Raval, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling.
ODI team: Kane Williamson (capt), Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Taylor, Nicholls, Latham, Watling, de Grandhomme, Astle, Sodhi, Southee, Henry, Boult, two to be added from NZ A/NZ T20 squad.
T20 team: Kane Williamson (capt), Mark Chapman, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Adam Milne, Colin Munro, Seth Rance, Tim Seifert, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, two to be added from NZ A.