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Ajaz Patel earns Test recall, fit-again Trent Boult returns for India series
New Zealand News

Ajaz Patel earns Test recall, fit-again Trent Boult returns for India series

Ajaz Patel is in line for a Test return against India after the left-arm spinner was named as the sole spinner in New Zealand's 13-man squad for the two-match series starting Friday.

The Black Caps' pace arsenal has been bolstered with the arrival of veteran seamer Trent Boult in the line-up while the uncapped Kyle Jamieson has also been added to the squad.

Mumbai-born Patel's last Test appearance was during the away series against Sri Lanka in August as the New Zealand selectors decided to entrust spin bowling duties to the likes of Mitchell Santner, Will Somerville and Todd Astle in his absence.

Now back in the side as the first-choice spinner, New Zealand coach Gary Stead hoped Patel would be able to perpetuate his bowling form in domestic cricket against India.

"We're excited to welcome back Ajaz who has done a great job for us overseas and has a proven domestic record in New Zealand conditions," he said.

Patel had a memorable debut two years back when he picked seven wickets in New Zealand's four-run victory over Pakistan at Abu Dhabi.

His rise in stature in the Kiwi spin department comes at the back of Santner's abysmal returns over the past few matches.

Boult had fractured his right hand in the Boxing Day Test against Australia, forcing him to miss the subsequent limited-overs series with India.

His inclusion alongside Neil Wagner, Tim Southee and 25-year-old Jamieson tempts the selectors to employ a four-pronged pace attack against the Virat Kohli-led touring party in Wellington on February 21.

Jeet Raval has been omitted from the side following his extended lean run in the format with Tom Blundell chosen as Tom Latham's opening partner.

Meanwhile, senior batsman Ross Taylor is all set to become the first cricketer to play 100 games in all three forms - Tests, ODIs and T20Is.

New Zealand squad

Kane Williamson (c), Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Henry Nicholls, Ajaz Patel, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling (wk)