Devon Conway, who was a questionable omission from the New Zealand test squad has been drafted in to the squad after BJ Watling suffered a minor hamstring injury in the opening round of the Ford Trophy on Sunday. This throws his particiaption in the first test against West Indies starting on third November in question.
New Zealand coach, Gary Stead who took over the team in 2018, had revealed that BJ Watling carried a slight hamstring niggle and a decision to play him in the opening test will be made on the eve of the game. However, if the last training session were to be taken into consideration, it is highly unlikely BJ Watling could play a role in the opening test.
Stead confirmed that if Watling was indeed ruled out for the match, Tom Blundell will take over the keeping duties and will bat at number 6. That would be leave an opening slot empty which will be taken over by Will Young, as Stead has already stated.
Devon Conway and Will Young battle for a spot in the New Zealand eleven
This would be deny Devon Conway a debut as Will Young was chosen in the initial squad to face the West Indies. Both players have been pressing their case for a debut by delivering stellar performances with the bat. Will Young averages an astonishing 43.76 in first class cricket and was all set to make his debut against Bangladesh in the test match last year in place of the injured Kane Williamson, before the match was called out in the wake of the mosque shootings.
Harry Conway, on the other hand has averaged 47.54 in the Plunket Shield and has topped the run charts for three successive years. The left handed batsman was handed his T20 debut against West Indies and took the opportunity to make a statement. Conway registered impressive scores of 41 and 65 not out in his two knocks.
BJ Watling’s absence against the West Indies will be a huge setback for the Kiwis as he is not just reliable with the gloves but has averaged 38.50 in tests scoring 18 fifties and eight centuries. Among other notable absentees for the Kiwis are Colin de Grandhomme who is ruled out for the series and Ajaz Patel who is ruled out of the first test.
In the last test the Kiwis placed against India, they went in without a frontline spinner and it would be interesting to see who Stead decides to go with in his spin bowling department. He has the likes of Mitchell Sartner and Daryl Mitchell at his disposal. Stead said that it would entirely depend on the pitch conditions.
“Seddon Park tends to perhaps change a little bit quicker than what other pitches can,” he said. “I haven’t spoken with Kane [Williamson] about this yet, but I think it would be unusual not to play a spinner here in Hamilton.”
The first test match is scheduled to begin from the third November, with the second one commencing from 11th November.