Pacer Kyle Jamieson has been added to New Zealand’s 14-member squad for the home series against England starting later this month with as many as five quicks jostling for a place in the final XI.
Jamieson, who last played for New Zealand on the Test tour in England last year, returns to the squad after recovering from a back ailment.
Jamieson features in a 14-player squad to face England in a two-Test series, starting with a Pink-Ball day-night Test at Bay Oval in Tauranga from February 16-20.
The tall fast bowler is one among five quick-bowling options in the squad with skipper t Henry and Blair Tickner the others.Tim Southee, Neil Wagner.
The squad also features leg-spinner Ish Sodhi, who has retained his place in the squad following his successful return to Test cricket against Pakistan.
The 30-year-old made an impressive return to the Test arena in Pakistan, ending the series as the leading wicket-taker (13) while also adding valuable runs at number eight.
Off-spinning all-rounder Michael Bracewell provides the other spin option in the squad, alongside the pace bowling group of captain Tim Southee, Matt Henry, Jamieson, Neil Wagner and Blair Tickner.
A smaller squad for home tours means there’s no room for spinner Ajaz Patel or batsman Glenn Phillips, both of whom also toured Pakistan recently.
New Zealand head coach Gary Stead said the fact Jamieson was available for selection was a testament to his dedication to his recovery programme.
“Kyle is a very determined character with a strong desire to play international cricket for New Zealand. Since he was forced from the field in Nottingham he’s been very clear that he wants to get his body right to return.
He’s reported good progress since his return to professional cricket with Auckland and he will get the opportunity to play some long form cricket as part of the New Zealand XI Squad to face England in their warm-up match next week at Seddon Park,” Stead said in an official statement released by New Zealand Cricket (NZW).
Stead said Sodhi’s retention reflected his strong impact on the series against Pakistan.
“Ish really impressed us with his approach with bat and ball. He’s worked very hard on both in recent years and it was great to see that on the international Test stage,” he added.
Wellington Firebirds keeper Tom Blundell and Canterbury bowler Matt Henry both finished the Pakistan Tour with injuries but are both expected to be fully fit when the squad assembles in Tauranga.
Auckland Aces head coach Doug Watson will join up with the Test Squad ahead of the Bay Oval Test as batting coach with regular Blackcaps batting coach Luke Ronchi taking a break following the India Tour and joining the group in Wellington.
The second Test of the series will be held at Wellington’s Cello Basin Reserve from February 24-28, where strong crowds are expected with three days already close to being sold out.
NZC will continue to theme the weekend days of Test matches this year with Saturday remaining as ‘Dress Up’ day when prizes will be on offer, and Sunday is as Kids go free with an adult.
The Test Squad will assemble in Tauranga on Sunday, February 12.
Test squad: Tim Southee (c), Michael Bracewell, Tom Blundell (wk), Devon Conway, Matt Henry, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Henry Nicholls, Ish Sodhi, Blair Tickner, Neil Wagner, Kane Williamson and Will Young.