Black Caps name squad for World Test Championship final against India

Publish Date
Tuesday, 15 June 2021, 5:52PM

By: Niall Anderson

The Black Caps have cut all-rounders Mitchell Santner and Daryl Mitchell from their squad for the World Test Championship final against India.

The pair played one test apiece in New Zealand's series win over England, but aren't wanted for the final, with the squad being trimmed from 20 players to 15 ahead of the test which starts on Friday.

Also missing out from the extended squad are Doug Bracewell, Jacob Duffy and Rachin Ravindra, a trio that didn't play in the England series.

Santner's omission leaves Ajaz Patel as the sole spinner in the squad, while Colin de Grandhomme will be the all-round option, with the possibility that both could play against India, at the expense of a frontline seamer.

Will Young and Tom Blundell are part of the squad as batting and wicketkeeping cover, while Matt Henry is the additional fast bowler in the mix.

Patel was given a start in the second test at Edgbaston after Santner suffered a finger injury, and the 32-year-old impressed, taking four wickets and producing eight maidens in 23 overs as he deftly mixed control with aggression. A solid lower-order contribution of 20 would have slightly helped his cause as well, but Black Caps coach Gary Stead explained that the English conditions also played a significant role in Patel getting the nod over Santner.

"Ajaz bowled beautifully – in both innings he did the role we wanted him to do, and picked up a couple of key wickets," Stead said.

"The conditions we face here in England are slightly different from a spin perspective to what we get in New Zealand, I think the wickets here deteriorate a little bit faster so the role of the spinner is probably a little bit more of an attacking option than what it is in New Zealand.

"We felt we needed to have what we thought was our best spinner in terms of the guy who can take wickets for us, and that's why Ajaz got that nod."

Stead also provided positive news about the status of skipper Kane Williamson and wicketkeeper BJ Watling, who both missed the second England test with niggling injuries.

"I'm pleased to be able to say that Kane and BJ both batted and did their drills – they got through that really well. It's been really pleasing to see the movement of both of them in a positive direction. All signs at this stage are leading to them being available."

De Grandhomme is also fit and ready, with Stead elaborating on how they managed his workload.

This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is republished here with permission