New Zealand announce squad for WTC Final, England Tests; Rachin Ravindra, Jacob Duffy earn maiden call-ups

Mayank Kumar

Mayank Kumar

Author| Apr 7, 6:14 PM

Image: Twitter
Image: Twitter

New Zealand have handed maiden call ups to two players such as Rachin Ravindra, and Jacob Duffy in the Test squad for the tour of England scheduled for later this year.

The trio has found a place in a 20-men strong squad to take on hosts England in the two-match long Test series starting on June 2, and another at the Edgbaston. The Blackcaps squad will then be cut short to a 15-men squad for the World Test Championship final scheduled to start on June 18 in Southampton against India.

Blackcaps head coach Gary Stead has had first-hand experience of the qualities the trio has to offer to the New Zealand squad on the tour of England after they out in serious hard work in the off-season during the winter.

Rachin Ravindra will be the youngest Blackcaps member to debut in the longest format of the game being just 20-year-old and Stead reaffirmed his support for the all-rounder, who he said has been rated as a ‘star of the future.’

I’ve seen first-hand how hard these guys have worked in our NZC winter training squads and with New Zealand A, and so for them to earn their maiden Test call-ups for such a special tour will be really satisfying.

“Rachin’s been earmarked as a star of the future since his Under-19 days and we’ve been really encouraged by the advancement in his game this season, with both bat and ball. He’s obviously an opening option, but also has the ability to bat in the middle order which combined with his left-arm finger spin make him a great asset to our squad,” Stead said in a statement released by the New Zealand Cricket.

On the other hand, Jacob Duffy has been a consistent performer for Otago Volts in the New Zealand domestic circuit and Stead highlighted his skills of swinging the red ball as the reason for him finding a place on the plane to England in May.

“Jacob’s been a consistent performer on the domestic circuit and his ability to swing the ball made him a particularly compelling option with a Dukes ball in English conditions,” Stead added.

Apart from the duo of Rachin Ravindra and Jacob Duffy, the selectors have also handed a full-fledged call up to the highly-talented left-handed batsman Devon Conway. He has been prolific with the bat in the white-ball formats for the Blackcaps and after coming in a replacement for the skipper Kane Williamson in the series against Pakistan, he has earned a call up to the Test squad.

The Blackcaps have also handed call ups to the duo of Colin de Grandhomme and Ajaz Patel, who missed the home Test series against West Indies and Pakistan in the last season. 

The selectors have also called up the all-rounder Doug Bracewell, who last played the longest format for the Blackcaps in 2016 for his consistent performances with both bat and ball in the domestic circuit. He has averaged 26 with the ball and 43 with the bat playing for the Central Stags along with nine wickets at 19.6 apiece for New Zealand A.

“Doug’s a match-winner and we’re confident he’ll enjoy bowling on English pitches in June,” Stead said on Bracewell’s selection for England tour.

The rest of the squad looks to be on expected lines with the likes of Henry Nicholls, Will Young, Daryl Mitchell and Kyle Jamieson getting rewards in the form of selection for England under the leadership of Kane Williamson. 

As per the New Zealand Cricket statement, the Blackcaps will organise two training camps in the first half of May before departing for England while the players participating in the Indian Premier League will be monitored on a ‘case by case basis' depending on the different time of their teams’ exits from the tournament. 

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