The New Zealand Cricket Board (NZC) has announced a 15-man squad for the first Test against South Africa starting on February 17. This team includes two such players who have been included in the Test team for the first time. 28-year-old Cam Fletcher has been included in the Kiwi team for the first time in any format. Let’s know-how is the Kiwi team for the first test.
Tom Latham (captain), Tom Blundell, Devon Conway, Colin de Grandhomme, Cam Fletcher, Matt Henry, Kyle Jamieson, Darryl Mitchell, Henry Nicholls, Rachin Ravindra, Hamish Rutherford, Tim Southee, Blair Tickner, Neil Wagner, Will Young.
Rutherford returns for the first time since January 2015
Rutherford returned to the Test team for the first time since January 2015. He has grabbed this opportunity back after scoring consecutive runs in domestic cricket. Rutherford, 32, scored 588 runs in eight matches in the last Plunkett Shield. At present, he has scored 370 runs in four matches of the ongoing season. The left-handed batsman has scored 755 runs in 16 Tests for New Zealand.
The 28-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman had scored 473 runs in the last domestic season at an average of 78.83. In the current season, he has scored 344 runs with an average of 86.
New Zealand’s legendary batsman Ross Taylor recently played his last Test match. Kane Williamson is out due to injury and now this will be the first time since January 2008 that New Zealand will play a Test match without these two batsmen. Williamson is currently recovering from an elbow injury and will not be part of the series as he is not fully fit.
South African batsman Keegan Pietersen has also been ruled out of the New Zealand tour. Pietersen, who was the highest run-scorer in the home series against India, has been ruled out of the tour due to corona infection. Zubair Hamza has been included in the team in his place. Cricket South Africa (CSA) has announced a 17-man squad for this series. Simon Harmer, who returned from the Kolpak deal, has also been selected in this team.
The South African team will soon travel to New Zealand for a two-match series. The first Test of the series will be played from 17-21 February in Christchurch and the second match will be played in Wellington from 25 February to 01 March.