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New Zealand includes 4 spinners in squad for Sri Lanka tests

July 28, 2019

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Mitchell Santner has been recalled to the New Zealand test squad after almost two years as one of four spinners included Monday for a tour to Sri Lanka.

Spinning allrounder Santner joins leg-spinner Todd Astle, off-spinner Will Somerville and left-armer Ajaz Patel in the squad which will play tests at Galle from Aug. 14 and Colombo from Aug. 22.

Santner, who played his most recent test against the West Indies in December 2017, missed most of last year with a knee injury.

He is considered to be New Zealand’s best white ball spinner, taking 69 wickets from as many matches, but has enjoyed less success at test level where he has 34 wickets in 27 innings at an average of 37.

Somerville hasn’t played a test since he took 7-127 on debut in New Zealand’s series-clinching win over Pakistan in Dubai last December. Astle made his test debut in Sri Lanka seven years ago but has only played four tests since.

The squad includes only three fast bowlers: the new ball pair of Trent Boult and Tim Southee and seamer Neil Wagner.

Nine members of the New Zealand World Cup squad have been retained but no place has been found for leg-spinner Ish Sodhi, who played in New Zealand’s test series win over Pakistan, or seamer Matt Henry, who finished in its more recent series win over Bangladesh.

The batting lineup is a settled one, with Colin de Grandhomme remaining the preferred allrounder.

The New Zealand team was announced at a ceremony which also launched the new World Test Championships. The Sri Lanka and New Zealand teams will play with names and numbers on the back of their white shirts for the first time in the championship which begins with the first test of the Ashes series between England and Australia later this week.

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New Zealand squad: Kane Williamson (captain), Tom Latham, Jeet Raval, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, B.J. Watling, Tom Blundell, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Todd Astle, Will Somerville, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult, Ajaz Patel.

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