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New Zealand pick four front-line spinners for Sri Lanka tour
New Zealand News

New Zealand pick four front-line spinners for Sri Lanka tour

New Zealand have named four spinners in their 15-man squad to utilize the spin-friendly conditions on offer in Sri Lanka for the two-match Test series next month.

The visitors have recalled off-spinner Will Somerville and left-armer Ajaz Patel, who played key roles in New Zealand's historic 2-1 series triumph in the UAE last year against Pakistan.

The two will be joined by all-rounder Mitchell Santner and leg-spinner Todd Astle to give the Kiwis a wide array of spin options for the opening round of their World Test Championship campaign.

Coach Gary Stead said the decision to go with a spin-heavy bowling attack is part of the "horses-for-courses" strategy which reaped rewards in Dubai and Abu Dhabi the previous year.

Santner has been a constant feature of New Zealand's limited-overs setup though he last participated in a Test match two years ago before being sidelined due to a knee injury.

"Playing three spinners is an option in Sri Lankan conditions and we believe this group provides the best variations and skill mix on offer," Stead said.

New Zealand have selected three specialist seamers in their line-up with Matt Henry and Lockie Ferguson missing out in the final squad.

Colin de Grandhomme is expected to play a supporting role to the pacers and share the burden of the overs in the humid weather in Sri Lanka.

Both teams vie a head start to the Test Championship which sees nine nations battle it out for the next two years before the final takes place between the top two ranked sides at Lord's in June 2021.

New Zealand's busy schedule in the competition will include 14 games played against six teams.

Stead claimed his team had moved on from the dramatic World Cup final loss where England were adjudged victors merely on the basis of a superior boundary count after a tied Super Over.

"It's good timing for us after the World Cup," he said.

"It was an incredible time for the team and the country, but we're now excited to move forward as a group and sink our teeth into another opportunity."

New Zealand squad

Kane Williamson (c), Tom Latham, Jeet Raval, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling (wk), Tom Blundell, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Todd Astle, Tim Southee, Will Somerville, Neil Wagner, Ajaz Patel, Trent Boult