Devon Conway was handed a maiden call-up by the New Zealand selectors as they named the T20I and Test squads to face West Indies to kickstart the 2020-21 cricketing summer. The South African-born who became eligible to play for New Zealand earlier this year in August has been named in the 13-man T20I squad.
“We’re looking forward to welcoming Devon into our environment for the first time and I’m sure he’ll soak up the experience,” New Zealand head coach Gary Stead was quoted saying.
Colin Munro has been overlooked due to his Big Bash League (BBL) commitments. The attacking left-handed batsman will turn up for Perth Scorchers this year. Regular skipper Kane Williamson and Trent Boult have been rested with the focus on the Test series which will start only three days after the conclusion of the T20I series. Tim Southee will lead the side in the absence of Williamson.
It is also more about workload management. Both Williamson and Boult were integral parts of their respective franchises (Sunrisers Hyderabad and Mumbai Indians) in the recently-concluded IPL. Both of them dealt with niggles as well at a point in the tournament.
“We’ve had to make a decision on Kane and Trent to prioritise the Test matches, given how important they are to our red-ball team and the fact they both played such big roles in the recent IPL while also managing injuries. There’s no secret we’re right in the hunt for the World Test Championship Final following our two-nil win over India and having Trent and Kane fully fit and focussed for the upcoming series will be crucial,” Stead further added.
Meanwhile, Kyle Jamieson who was very impressive on ODI and Test debut earlier this year against India has been handed a maiden T20I call-up as well. However, Jamieson along with Tim Southee and Ross Taylor will be a part of the T20I set up only for the first two games before they join the Test squad to prepare for the two-match Test series. Mark Chapman, Doug Bracewell and Scott Kuggeleijn will slot in to replace the trio for the third and last T20I.
Glenn Philips returns to the T20I fold after more than two years. It is on the back of a successful run in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) this year where he scored 316 runs at a strike rate of 127.41.
As far as the Test squad is concerned, it wears an expected look. Tom Blundell continues as the incumbent opening batsman after he replaced Jeet Raval earlier this year. Will Young has been included as the reserve batsman. Ajaz Patel has been picked as the lone spinner alongside the four-pronged pace attack which comprises of Trent Boult, Neil Wagner, Tim Southee and Kyle Jamieson.
New Zealand have a couple of injury concerns. Colin de Grandhomme (right foot) and Ajaz Patel (left calf) are still recovering from their respective injuries which ruled them out of the Plunket Shield games. However, the New Zealand head coach is hopeful both of them will be fit and firing in time for the first Test which starts on the 3rd of December.
“Colin [de Grandhomme] and Ajaz [Patel] have quite different injuries which are requiring a different return to play protocols. It’s too early at this stage to definitively say what their chances are but we’re hopeful the next two weeks will make that clearer,” Stead explained.
Also, four New Zealand players who are in the T20I squad are in quarantine as they flew down from Dubai after the conclusion of the IPL. Their mandatory quarantine period will end on the 26th of November which will be just in time before the T20I series against West Indies which starts on the 27th of November.
T20I Squad: Tim Southee (c), Hamish Bennett, Devon Conway, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Kyle Jamieson, Daryl Mitchell, Jimmy Neesham, Glenn Phillips, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Seifert (wk), Ross Taylor
Test Squad: Kane Williamson (c), Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Ajaz Patel, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling (wk), Will Young